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Full text of "Strategic Guidance for Northern Bobwhite Recovery Annual Report 2008"

Missouri Department of 
Conservation 

Strategic Guidance for 
Nortliern Bobwiiite Recovery 

2008 Report 





Serving oatureantlyoij 



Dear Conservation Partner, 

The Missouri Department of Conservation is over halfway through our ten year plan to 
restore habitat for northern bobwhite - the Strategic Guidance for Northern Bobwhite 
Recovery. This initiative began in 2003 and continues to gather support and interest at 
the national, state and local level. The timing is still right to restore habitat for northern 
bobwhite and the opportunities have never been better. 

This past year, the Missouri Department of Conservation, conservation partners and 
private landowners made noteworthy accomplishments for quail. Missouri continues to 
be a national leader for northern bobwhite recovery. In 2008, Scott County was 
recognized as the first county in the nation to reach Northern Bobwhite Conservation 
Initiative habitat goals. Cass County was soon to follow as the second county in the 
nation. Other Missouri counties are close to their habitat goals as well. 

Equally important are the many individual landowner success stories we have heard the 
past few years and habitat improvements on public lands throughout Missouri. These 
success stories were made possible by dedicated landowners, devoted staff and 
energetic conservation partners. 

Much work still remains on both private and public lands for bobwhite quail to attain 
landscape scale habitat and population goals. Regardless, steps taken today by the 
Department, conservation partners and private landowners to improve habitat will help 
ensure that bobwhites will be in Missouri for future generations to enjoy. 

I hope you are encouraged by the progress Missourians have made for bobwhites and 
other wildlife. This report illustrates the actions we have taken to improve quail and 
grassland bird habitat in Missouri. A sincere thank you for your interest and dedication 
to quail and grassland bird conservation. 



Sincerely, 



John Hoskins 
Director 



Missouri Department of Conservation 
Strategic Guidance for Northern Bobwhite Recovery Annual Report 



Contents 


Page Number 


Introduction 


2 


Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Update 


3 


Public Land Accomplishments 


5 


Quail Emphasis Areas 


7 


Private Land Achievements 


9 


Private Land Quail Focus Areas 


11 


Farm Bill Programs 


12 


Habitat Management for Greater Prairie Chicken Recovery 




Directly Benefits Northern Bobwhite 


14 


Department Training 


15 


Research and Monitoring 


17 


Reaching out to Missourians 


18 


Marketing and Qutreach 


23 


Regional Highlights 


26 


Central Region 


26 


Kansas City Region 


30 


Northeast Region 


33 


Northwest Region 


38 


Qzark Region 


46 


Saint Louis Region 


48 


Southeast Region 


49 


Southwest Region 


53 



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Strategic Guidance for Norttiern Bobwtiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 



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INTRODUCTION 

In May 2003, Director John Hoskins 
signed the Strategic Guidance for 
Northern Bobwhite Recovery for the 
restoration and enhancement of quail 
populations in Missouri. The goal of the 
plan is to reverse the downward trend in 
bobwhite abundance and bobwhite- 
related recreation in Missouri. The 
statewide plan identified four primary 
goals and was further supported by 
development of regional quail plans. The 
four statewide goals are: 




4 Improve statewide bobwhite population 

^ Improve bobwhite populations statewide on conservation areas 

A Expand interest among Missourians in seeing and hearing bobwhite 

^ Increase statewide recreation related to bobwhite and associated species 

While northern bobwhites are the primary focus, the recovery plan will benefit numerous wildlife 
species, reduce soil and water erosion, improve water quality, and provide greater outdoor 
recreational opportunities for Missourians. Likewise, other Department initiatives such as the 
Greater Prairie Chicken Recovery Plan, Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy and Conservation 
Opportunity Areas are helping restore quail habitat on private and public lands. The Strategic 
Guidance for Northern Bobwhite Recovery will also help the Department achieve several goals 
identified within the Department's strategic plan -The Next Generation of Conservation: 






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Conserving Plants, Animals and Their Habitats 

Protecting Clean and Healthy Waters 

Promoting Healthy Trees and Forests 

Preserving Missouri's Outdoor Recreation 

Heritage 

Teaching Missourians About Fish, Forest 

and Wildlife Resources 

Helping Private Landowners Advance 

Conservation 

Serving Nature and You on Conservation 

Areas 



The Next Generation of Conservation is the 
Department's strategic, long-term plan that was 
developed with stakeholder input from private 
landowners, farmers, conservation organizations, 
and rural and urban leaders. The plan will help 
guide how the Missouri Department of 
Conservation provides public services to all 
Missourians to benefit fish, forest and wildlife in 
future years. The Strategic Guidance for Northern 
Bobwhite Recovery is an essential part of this long- 
term plan. 




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NORTHERN BOBWHITE 
CONSERVATION 

INITIATIVE UPDATE 

Missouri's efforts to increase 
northern bobwhite numbers and 
other wildlife species with similar 
habitat needs are a part of a 
national initiative. The Northern 
Bobwhite Conservation Initiative 
(NBC!) was organized to develop 
population and habitat objectives 
in each of the 15 Bird 
Conservation Regions where 
northern bobwhite occur. The 
NBCI is a coordinated and 
cooperative approach for 
integrating the needs of quail 
into other bird management 
plans such as Partners in Flight 
and the North America Bird 
Conservation Initiative. 




In April 2008, the Missouri Quail and Grassland Bird Council 
recognized Scott County partners for achievements made for 
northern bobwhite and for receiving the 2008 NBCI Group 
Achievement Award from Quail Unlimited. 



The NBCI was designed by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) 
and the Southeast Quail Study Group Technical Committee to restore declining quail populations to 
1980 levels. After six years as a regional initiative, the NBCI has become a strong nationwide 
conservation effort involving numerous agencies and organizations. In 2007, the SEAFWA began a 
search for a permanent home for the NBCI, and in early 2008 an agreement was signed between 
the SEAFWA and University of Tennessee to move the NBCI to Knoxville. As part of the 
administrative change, the NBCI will grow into a national initiative that will cover the entire northern 
bobwhite range. These two administrative changes will provide greater stability for the program and 
additional opportunities for growth and development. 

The past year was a significant 
year for quail habitat 
restoration efforts in Missouri. 
In early 2008, Scott County 
was recognized as the first 
county in the nation to achieve 
its NBCI habitat goal by 
creating over 7,000 acres of 
quail friendly habitat in an 
intensively row cropped 
landscape. Scott County 
farmers, quail hunters and 
citizens are noticing more quail 
in areas where field borders 
have been established. For 
their efforts, the Scott County 
Farm Service Agency, Natural 




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Resource Conservation Service, Soil 
and Water Conservation District and 
IMissouri Department of Conservation 
staffs received the NBCI Group 
Achievement award for assisting 
private landowners with quail habitat 
restoration efforts. In 2007, the 
Missouri Department of Conservation 
received the NBCI Group 
Achievement Award for the 
Department's effort toward 
implementation of the NBCI plan and 
other accomplishments related to 
Farm Bill programs. 

In September 2008, a second 
Missouri county was recognized for 
achieving goals identified in the NBCI. 
Over the past six years, landowners in 

Cass County have created over 15,000 acres of quail friendly habitat on agricultural lands by 
establishing native grass field borders, converting cool-season grass fields to native warm-season 
grasses and completing miles of edge feathering and shrub plantings. In addition, landowners are 
actively managing CRP grasslands and other early successional habitats with prescribed fire, light 
disking and herbicide treatments. Cass County's success would not have been possible if it were not 
for dedicated Department staff, enthusiastic landowners, assistance from Quail Unlimited and 
support from the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District, Farm Service Agency and 
Natural Resource Conservation Service. 



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Edge feathering is better l<nown as "Cliop and Drop" in Cass 
County. 



"In the 1980's my farm harbored ten coveys, but then over the years of stagnant habitat 
management it declined to just two, now since I have begun to work on intensive habitat 
management and disturbance I have noticed eight coveys again this fall." 

Tom Lampe, Cass County landowner 




Other Missouri counties are approaching 
habitat goals identified in the NBCI. Carroll, 
Caldwell, Mississippi, Pemiscot, Dunklin, and 
New Madrid Counties are close to their 
habitat goals because of devoted 
landowners, MDC staff and conservation 
partners working to restore quail and 
grassland bird habitat. 

Landowners in Mississippi, Pemiscot, Dunklin 

and New Madrid Counties have established 

miles of native grass field borders in this row 

crop dominated landscape through 

conservation programs such as CP-33 and 

the Conservation Security Program. Already, landowners and biologists are reporting more quail and 

pheasants along newly established native grass field borders and other wildlife friendly practices. 



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In Carroll and Caldwell counties, Department staff have been working closely with USDA staff to 
encourage mid-contract management (prescribed burning, light disking and herbicide treatments) on 
existing CRP grass fields. Landowners are also edge feathering, planting covey headquarters, 
spraying invasive plants and planting food plots to improve CRP grasslands and early successional 
habitats for bobwhite quail. Department biologists feel low growing woody cover is a critical habitat 
component missing from most of Missouri. Over the past few years, several miles of edge 
feathering have been completed in Carroll and Caldwell counties. Farmers are also enrolling crop 
field borders into the popular CP-33 and CP-38 programs. In parts of Carroll and Caldwell counties 
where habitat improvements have occurred landowners are seeing and hearing more quail. 



PUBLIC LAND 
ACCOMPLISHMENTS 

As a part of the Strategic 
Guidance for Northern Bobwhite 
Recovery, the Department is 
working to improve quail and 
grassland bird habitat on 
conservation areas throughout 
the state. Each year, quail and 
grassland bird projects receive 
high priority for funding during 
the Department's annual budget 
development. In fiscal year 
2008, which runs from J uly 2007 
to J une 2008, Department work 
teams accomplished over 96,000 
acres of quail friendly habitat on 
public land. Most of the work 
was completed in old fields, 
grasslands, prairies, savannas, glades 
and woodlands. Altogether, a total of 
193,300 acres of habitat work and area 
management on conservation areas in 
fiscal year 2008. 

Department staff also work with about 
360 permittee farmers by renting 
approximately 68,000 acres of 
cropland, hay land and grassland on 
conservation areas. Permittee farmers 
are also helping the Department by 
establishing food plots, light disking 
and conducting other habitat 
management practices as a part of 
their farming contract with the 
Department. 




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Department staff are using a 
variety of management 
practices to improve habitat 
conditions on conservation 
areas. For example, prescribed 
fire and strip disking are being 
used to open bare ground and 
promote seed producing plants 
for brooding habitat. In recent 
years, work teams have been 
conducting prescribed burns 
almost year round, with an 
emphasis on summer and fall 
prescribed burns to improve 
future brooding habitat for 
northern bobwhite. Fall and 
winter are preferred times to 
conduct light disking in old fields 
and rank grass fields. 




Biologists use liglit clisl<ing to improve brooding cover for 
bobwhite quail. 



Biologists are also using managed 
grazing to improve brooding cover 
for quail and grassland birds on 
some conservation areas. Work 
teams are planting food plots and 
overseeding native wildflowers and 
legumes in warm-season grass fields 
to create even more brood cover for 
quail. We are enhancing woody and 
shrubby cover by creating brush 
piles, edge feathering and planting 
shrubs. Since 2005, the Department 
has completed a total of 467 miles 
of edge development and 
enhancement on conservation areas. 
This would be almost the same 
distance as driving back and forth 
on 1-70 from Kansas City to Saint 
Louis! 

In addition to Department efforts, 
the United States Forest Service (USFS) is also working to restore habitat for upland wildlife species 
including northern bobwhite. Through a cooperative agreement with the USFS, Department of 
Conservation and National Wild Turkey Federation 40 acres of old fields dominated by fescue and 
undesirable trees were converted to native warm-season grasses in the Houston/Rolla/ Cedar Creek 
District. Staff also completed 312 acres of glade and savanna improvement by thinning cedars and 
undesirable hardwoods. In the Ava District, staff removed about 120 acres of cedar from glades 
and open woodlands. In the future, the sites will be included in prescribed burns aimed at restoring 
these natural communities. 




Conservation contractors are used to complete various 
habitat projects on conservation areas and private land, 
including edge feathering, as shown here. 



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QUAIL EMPHASIS 
AREAS 

Nineteen conservation areas 

have also been identified as 

Quail Emphasis Areas (see 

map). Quail Emphasis 

Areas total 67,000 acres 

and are located in each 

region. The purpose of 

areas with these 

designations is to 

demonstrate good quail 

habitat management and to 

provide a quality quail 

hunting experience. Quail 

Emphasis Areas were 

selected based on existing 

habitat qualities, public 

demand, and size of the 

area. To learn more about Quail Emphasis Areas visit mdc.mo.qov/hunt/qamebird/qea.htm . 



In fiscal year 2008, staff completed at least 12,000 acres of habitat work on these nineteen 
conservation areas. These areas are intensively managed with prescribed burning, light disking, 
food plots, natural community restoration, woody cover enhancement and invasive plant control. 
Last year, over 1,800 acres of invasive vegetation such as tall fescue, smooth brome and sericea 
lespedeza were sprayed with herbicides to control these invasive plants and to improve brooding 
cover for quail. Invasive plants often grow too thick for bobwhite quail to move through, and 
suppress desirable native grasses and legumes. 



In 2008, the Department received conservation grants from SportsDQG Brand and the National Wild 

Turkey Federation Superfund to 

purchase herbicides to control 

invasive cool-season grasses on 

Quail Emphasis Areas. With the 

grants. Department staff were able 

to purchase six, 30 gallon containers 

of glyphosate that will be used in 

2008 and 2009 to treat 

approximately 600 acres of habitat. 

Several Quail Emphasis Areas also 

received grants from the 

Conservation Heritage Foundation 

for small habitat projects such as 

woodland restoration, invasive plant 

control, native grass and wildflower 

seed and contracted edge 

feathering. Conservation grants play 

a critical role in enhancing district 

work team budgets each year. 

Staff have also spent considerable 




Matt Tucker, resource assistant, spraying fescue at the Maintz 
Wildlife Presen/e, a Quail Emphasis Area. A major goal on 
Quail Emphasis Areas is to significantly reduce tall fescue and 
smooth brome abundance. 



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time improving low growing woody cover on these areas by edge feathering, planting shrubs, 
constructing brush piles and thinning out undesirable trees in woodlands and old fields. Low 
growing woody cover is an essential habitat component for northern bobwhite that is used year 
round. In fact, biologists recommend 20 percent of a covey's home range should be in low growing 
woody cover or two acres for every ten acres of habitat. I n 2008, biologists completed about 54 
miles of woody edge enhancement and development on Quail Emphasis Areas. 

In recent years, the 

Department has increased 

natural community restoration 

efforts on many conservation 

areas. Wildlife and Forestry 

Divisions are working together 

to restore natural communities 

such as woodlands, savannas 

and glades. Restoration often 

involves removing woody 

vegetation, controlling invasive 

species and reintroducing 

prescribed fire. On Quail 

Emphasis Areas, over 11,000 

acres of woodland (pictured to 

the right) have been identified 

for restoration. For example. 

Wildlife and Forestry staff at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area are currently marking several 

hundred acres of woodland for future thinning projects. Eventually, these restored habitats will 

become high quality upland game habitat for quail, wild turkey and other species. 

Work teams on Quail Emphasis Area are monitoring quail and songbird responses to intensive 
management efforts by conducting spring and fall surveys. Surveys the past couple years have 
shown stable quail numbers on the areas despite unfavorable weather conditions. This shows quail's 
ability to withstand poor weather conditions if favorable habitat is available. 




In 2007 and 2008 devastating ice storms 
covered most of the state at some point. 
To make matters worse, severe flooding 
and heavy rains during the summers of 
2007 and 2008 likely affected nesting 
success of quail and many other ground 
nesting birds. Fortunately, quail will 
attempt to re-nest a second and third 
time. By early November, many quail 
hunters on conservation areas and 
private land reported seeing young quail 
- a good indication of a late season 
hatch. Despite the poor nesting 
conditions. Department staff have also 
received favorable reports from private 
landowners who conducted fall whistle 
counts. 




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PRIVATE LAND 
ACHIEVEMENTS 

In 2008, the Conservation 
Department and partners continued 
to assist private landowners by 
providing technical and financial 
assistance for their habitat projects. 
Through the Missouri Department of 
Conservation Landowner Cost Share 
Program over $1 million was 
allocated to Missouri landowners in 
2008, of which, approximately 
$558,000 funded quail and grassland 
bird friendly practices, impacting 
several thousand acres of private 
land for northern bobwhite. Cost 
share dollars are commonly used to 
establish native grasses, eradicate 
invasive vegetation, prescribed 
burning, shrub plantings and woody 
cover enhancement. 

The National Wild Turkey Federation 
Superfund Grant continues to provide 
critical funding habitat projects on 
private and public land that benefit 
wild turkey. This program provides 
over $100,000 annually for native 
warm-season grass drills, herbicide, 
seed, or to hire habitat contractors. 
In many cases these projects also 
benefit northern bobwhite and other 
upland wildlife. 

The United States Fish and Wildlife 
Service's, "Partners Program" is also 
helping restore habitat such as 
woodlands, savannas, prairies and 
glades for threatened or endangered 
species on private land, especially in 
targeted landscapes such as 

grassland Conservation Opportunity 
Areas and Grassland Coalition Focus 
Areas. Through this cost share 
program, habitat work completed for 
threatened or endangered species will 
also benefit quail and other wildlife. 




To be successful, Missouri's quail plan depends on private 
landowners working together to restore quail habitat. Here, 
Greg Dix from northwest Missouri is burning a weedy fescue 
field border in April to setback the fescue and to improve 
habitat conditions for bobwhite. 




Creating good shrubby and brooding cover for bobwhite quail 
also benefits wild turkey. 



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A landowner spraying sericea lespedeza. 



In 2008, Private Land Services 
Division finished work on the 
Bobwhite Quail Challenge Grant. 
Through this program, the 
Department has provided $190,000 
in funds to Quail Forever, Quail 
Unlimited and the National Wild 
Turkey Federation. With matching 
funds from each conservation group, 
the program will provide 
approximately $380,000 of habitat 
work to Missouri landowners 
interested in creating early 
successional and natural community 
habitats that will benefit northern 
bobwhite. Qver the next few years, 
these organizations will work with 
Department staff to administer the 
Bobwhite Challenge Grant funds to 
landowners throughout the state. The 
Bobwhite Quail Challenge Grant was 
approved by the Conservation 
Commission in May 2007 and was 
endorsed by the Quail and Grassland 
Bird Leadership Council. 

The Missouri Department of 

Conservation continued to fund the 

Conservation Equipment Grant Program 

which provided small loans to Soil and 

Water Conservation Districts and 

conservation groups to purchase small 

equipment such as native warm-season 

grass drills, sprayers and prescribed 

burn equipment. The small grant 

program enables the organization to rent the equipment to private landowners who need it to 

implement certain habitat practices such as establishing native warm-season grasses, conducting 

prescribed burns and spraying invasive vegetation. 




Over a three day hunt in December we moved 14 coveys on three different farms. We 
averaged over one covey per hour. The best hunt was six coveys in less than three 
hours. While the three farms where different, the key was each landowner have done an 
excellent job of managing native grass fields or field borders and have established covey 
headquarters for escape cover. In fact, 13 of the 14 coveys were in or very close to shrub 
thickets or edge feathering. 

Aaron P. Jeffries, Upland Game Coordinator 



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PRIVATE LAND QUAIL 

FOCUS AREAS 

In 2008, Department staff completed 
a review of the private land Quail 
Focus Areas. The purpose of the 
review was to establish focus area 
names, set measurable goals and 
redefine boundaries to better reflect 
where landowners have shown an 
interest in bobwhite quail 
management. The purpose of 
establishing Quail Focus Areas was to 
show landscape improvement in quail 
densities and to promote quail and 
grassland bird conservation. Today 
we have 34 private land Quail Focus 
Areas located throughout the state. 
Most focus areas are about 30,000 
acres in size but some are even larger 
because of widespread landowner 
interest in restoring quail habitat. 

Quail Focus Areas were identified 
where landowners were already managing for quail, near conservation areas with good quail 
habitat, and/or where conservation partners have expressed an interest in quail management. 
Department staff are focusing extra attention to these targeted landscapes to show a widespread 
improvement in quail densities. The plan is for Department staff and conservation partners to target 
landowners within these focus areas by marketing quail management and then providing technical 
and financial assistance to interested landowners. In the meantime, biologists continue to provide 
technical and financial assistance to landowners outside of focus areas to help these landowners 
meet their resource objectives. 



Private Land Conservationist Brent Vandeloecht is actively 
promoting quail habitat management in the Sweet Springs 
Quail Focus Area in Saline County. Landowners within the 
focus area have established CP-33 field borders and are 
managing CRP grasslands for bobwhites. A few CRP field 
borders in the focus area were selected for the national CP-33 
bird monitoring project. 



Department staff and conservation partners 
continue to host workshops and field days in 
these focus areas to show landowners high quality 
habitat and how to implement the practices on 
their own or put them in contact with a contractor 
who can do the work for them. Some focus areas 
are providing landowners with signs (shown to the 
right) to promote their work and the Quail Focus 
Area. Qutreach and Education staff are assisting 
field staff by developing marketing materials for 
each focus area. Biologists are also assisting 
landowners with fall whistle counts and bird 
monitoring to determine the effectiveness of their 
habitat work. Department staff report that 
landowners within focus areas are observing more 
quail in these targeted landscapes with major 
habitat improvements. 




Chuck Morris and his son Conrad have been 
working with private land conservationist Jeff 
Powelson in the Covey Headquarters Quail 
Focus Area in northwest Missouri. 



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FARM BILL PROGRAMS 

Still today, the Federal Farm Bill 

remains the single most important 

source of financial assistance for 

landowners interested in restoring 

wildlife habitat on private land. 

Several Farm Bill programs allow 

for quail and grassland bird 

habitat restoration and protection 

on private lands. Missouri 

continues to be a national leader 

in wildlife habitat restoration, 

especially bobwhite quail, through 

the Federal Farm Bill programs. 

This would not have been possible 

if it were not for the strong 

partnership between the Missouri 

Natural Resource Conservation 

Service, Farm Service Agency and Missouri Department of Conservation. 

The Conservation Reserve Program and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) 
continue to be the more popular practices for bobwhite quail habitat restoration in Missouri. For 
example, targeted CRP practices like CP-33 and CP-38 are benefiting bobwhite quail and grassland 
birds on private land. Currently, Missouri has the third highest enrolled acres in CP-33 in the nation, 
and Cass, Scott, Saline, Audrain and Andrew Counties have the highest acres enrolled in the state. 
In recent months the sign-up has increased due to revised soil rental rates. Over 30,000 acres of 
the Missouri's 32,600-acre allocation have been enrolled. 

Sign-up is underway for the CP-38 - SAFE practice which will bring an additional 19,200 acres of 
quail friendly habitat to Missouri. Most eligible acres are located in targeted landscapes such as 
greater prairie chicken recovery areas in southwest and north Missouri and sand prairies in the 
bootheel. The remaining acres will be allocated for quail friendly practices. The initial allocation of 
6,250 acres in the quail practice was used by December and an additional 3,000 acres was recently 
added to the bobwhite practice. 



Through Conservation Reserve Enhancement 
Program over 25,000 acres of quail friendly 
habitat was seeded and established to native 
warm-season grasses in 2008. While parts of 
79 counties were eligible for CREP, a 
significant amount of the acres enrolled 
occurred in west-central, northeast and north- 
central Missouri. In fact, several thousand 
acres were established in Cass County in 
2008. These additional acres helped Cass 
County become only the second county in the 
nation to achieve its NBCI habitat goal. As a 
part of the CREP program, native vegetation 
and mid-contract management will be 
required on most practices. 




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In 2007, Private Land Services worked with 
the Farm Services Agency and Natural 
Resource Conservation Service to require 
mid-contract management on new CP-21, CP- 
29 and CP-30 contracts over five acres. Mid- 
contract management was not previously 
required on these continuous CRP practices. 
As a result, management of these filter strips 
and buffers will provide better habitat for 
quail throughout the length of the contract. 
The Department's strong partnership with 
both agencies has helped further enhance 
these CRP practices for northern bobwhite. 

The Natural Resource Conservation Service 
held statewide sign-ups for both the Wildlife 
Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and 
Environmental Quality Incentives Program 
(EQIP). Both programs have been 
instrumental in helping landowners restore natural communities like prairie, glade, woodland and 
savanna, and to create early successional habitats for quail and other wildlife species. In 2008, a 
record $1.4 million in cost share was allocated to new WHIP contracts in Missouri. Many of these 
contracts will benefit bobwhite and grassland birds such as greater prairie chickens. Existing WHIP 
and EQIP contracts, from previous sign ups, accounted for an additional 16,665 acres of quail and 
grassland bird habitat in 2008. These existing contracts are often 3 to 10 years in length and 
provide adequate time for the cooperator to complete planned practices such as edge feathering, 
native grass establishment, natural community restoration and invasive plant control. 




Native grass field borders established through cost 
share programs such as CRP and CSP provide 
much needed nesting cover in row crop country. 



The Conservation Security 
Program (CSP) continues 
to benefit production 
landowners and bobwhite 
quail. In 2008 the Natural 
Resource Conservation 
Service held a signup in 
the Lower Missouri 
Crooked Watershed, as a 
result, 44% of the 
accepted contracts agreed 
to establish native grass 
and wildflower field 
borders and shrubby cover 
on cropland, pastureland 
or hayland for bobwhite 
quail. In many cases 
participants agreed to 
convert 10% of their land 
into quail friendly habitat. 
Biologist estimate 275 
acres of native grass field 




Does your hunting plans include a youth? 



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13 



borders will eventually be established in the Lower Crooked River watershed as a result of CSP. 
Since 2005, nine watersheds in Missouri have participated in CSP. These long-term contracts have 
resulted in several thousands of acres of quail friendly habitat on working lands. Most notably have 
been native grass field border and shrubby cover establishment in the Missouri bootheel. In fact, 
CSP was the reason why Scott County has been recognized as the first county in the nation to 
achieve its NBCI habitat goals. The results more than speak for themselves. Landowners and 
hunters in southeast Missouri are reporting a significant increase in bobwhite numbers. 




HABITAT MANAGEMENT 
FOR GREATER PRAIRIE 
CHICKEN RECOVERY 
DIRECTLY BENEFITS 
NORTHERN BOBWHITE 
In Grassland Coalition Focus Areas 
the Department and numerous 
conservation partners are working 
to improve private and public land 
for greater prairie chickens and 
grassland wildlife. Department 
staff and conservation partners 
continue to work with private 
landowners in grassland focus 
areas by providing technical and 
financial assistance for both quail and 
grassland bird practices such as native 
warm-season grass establishment, 
managed grazing, deferred grazing for 
nesting and tree removal from prairie 
vistas. 

In grassland focus areas. Department 
work teams are restoring and re- 
establishing tallgrass prairie, removing 
undesirable trees and invasive plants and 
using managed grazing to improve habitat conditions on conservation areas. In many cases habitat 
accomplishments made for the greater prairie chicken benefit northern bobwhite. In fact, managers 
with conservation areas in southwestern Missouri Grassland Coalition Focus Areas have reported 
quail densities equal to those on many Quail Emphasis Areas. Private landowners completing 
habitat projects for greater prairie chickens and grassland birds have also noticed a positive 
response by bobwhites. 

In 2008, Department staff and conservation partners began a greater prairie chicken trapping and 
translocation project to restore populations in parts of the state with suitable habitat. In March and 
April, male prairie chickens were trapped from the Smokey Hill Bombing Range and private land in 
central Kansas and relocated to favorable habitat in the Marmaton and Wah'Kon-Tah Conservation 
Opportunity Area in west-central Missouri. A second trapping was completed in August to move 
hens and broods to Missouri. By late fall some of the male chickens had moved several miles from 



Habitat work done for greater prairie chickens benefits 
bobwiiite quail and other wildlife species. 



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the release sites, while many of the hens and broods tended 
to stay closer to the release site. As expected, radio collared 
birds have also been lost to predators and other unknown 
factors. The surviving birds are currently being monitored by 
Department staff to determine the effectiveness of the 
restoration. 

In the Grand River Grassland Conservation Opportunity Area 
in northwest Missouri, Department staff captured 12 males 
and 9 female greater prairie chickens on the Nature 
Conservancy's Dunn Ranch. The captured birds were 
weighed, banded and radio collared with a transmitter. For 
the past year. Department staff have been tracking the 
habitat uses of the collared birds to determine preferred 
nesting and brooding sites. This study has helped shed light 
on the daily activities of these remarkable grassland birds. 




DEPARTMENT TRAINING 

In 2008, Department staff participated in workshops and training sessions devoted to quail habitat 
management. These classes provided resource professionals the latest information on research 
projects and effective habitat management techniques for natural communities and early 
successional habitats. 



The Missouri Quail and Grassland Bird Technical Committee have played a critical role in advancing 
quail and grassland bird conservation in our state since 2003. The committee was formed to 
develop marketing strategies, staff training classes, habitat reviews and future initiatives related to 
quail and grassland bird conservation. The committee meets periodically and is made up of 
representatives from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural Resource Conservation 
Service, University of Missouri and United States Forest Service. Each year the technical committee 
hosts workshops for staff such as Quail 101, 201 and 301 and the Quail Emphasis Area Field 
Appraisals. 

The following are members of the Quail 
and Grassland Bird Technical 
Committee: Beth Cole (MDC), Bill White 
(MDC), Bob Pierce (UMC), Brent 
Vandeloecht (MDC), Bryan Gragg (MDC), 
Chris Hamilton (NRCS), Dave Hoover 
(MDC), Jamie Barton (MDC), Jeff 
Powelson (MDC), John Dwyer (UMC), 
Justin Galley (MDC), Karen Hudson 
(MDC), Keith Wollard (MDC), Kleiden 
Frost (USFS), Larry Heggemann (MDC), 
Lee Metcalf (MDC), Lisa Potter (MDC), 
Scott Sudkamp (MDC), Tom Dailey 
(MDC), and Tony Elliott (MDC). Thank 
you for your support and expertise in 
quail and grassland bird conservation. 




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In February, staff participated in several quail 

and grassland bird training sessions. In early 

February, Protection Division participated in a 

quail habitat training session during their annual 

Wildlife Code review. The training highlighted 

initial results from the radio-collared quail 

project at Davisdale and Locust Creek 

Conservation Areas and current regulations on 

captive-reared quail. Later in the month, over 

60 biologists participated in a quail and greater 

prairie chicken management workshop at the 

Missouri Natural Resource Conference. The 

course highlighted prairie reconstruction and 

management, woodland restoration and 

management, patch burn grazing for quail and 

grassland birds, and bird monitoring results. A noticeable theme at the workshop was the value of 

natural community restoration and management for quail and greater prairie chickens and how 

much of the work done for prairie chickens and grassland birds is benefiting northern bobwhite. 

In March, the first Quail 301 class was held in Jefferson City. Over 80 biologists participated in the 
two day class which covered a variety of topics from habitat management, research highlights, 
revised quail hunting regulations, and how to effectively market a private land Quail Focus Area. 
Information was also gathered from staff on future training and marketing needs. 

In J une, two Quail 201 courses were held for Department staff and conservation partners. The first 
was held at Thomas Hill Reservoir Wildlife Management Area and the second at the White River 
Trace Conservation Area, both areas are designated Quail Emphasis Areas. Qver 50 Department 
staff attended the classes which provided training on quail habitat requirements, management, 
budgeting, and how to develop a long-term plan. Qver the past two years, six Quail 201 classes 
have been held for Department staff and conservation partners. 

Wildlife Division biologists, Lee Hughes and Mike Leahy, hosted a woodland management and 
restoration workshop at Bennett Springs State Park to train 25 resource professionals on woodland 
identification, restoration, management and wildlife value including northern bobwhite. The 
workshop included tours of woodland 
communities on the Lead Mine Conservation 
Area and Bennett Spring Natural Area. 

In 2008, Wildlife Division completed Quail 
Emphasis Area Field Appraisals on Bunch 
Hollow, Poosey, William White, Bois D'Arc, 
Bonanza, Henry Sever and Davisdale 
Conservation Areas. Despite an abundance of 
chiggers and ticks, biologists enjoyed the 
opportunity to discuss habitat conditions and 
management options. The purpose of the 
review is to evaluate habitat conditions and 
management for quail on each Quail Emphasis 
Area. 




Biologists Steven Noll and Chad Smith evaluating 
habitat conditions at Davisdale Consen/ation Area 



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RESEARCH AND MONITORING 

Resource Science Division continues to monitor quail and 
songbird densities on 60 crop fields with CP-33 buffers 
and 60 unbuffered crop fields as a part of the national 
CP-33 monitoring project. Nationwide, CP-33 monitoring 
has shown a positive response by bobwhite and several 
songbirds on established CP-33 buffers around crop 
fields compared to crop fields without buffers. Many of 
the field borders are at least two years old and are finally 
providing favorable habitat for northern bobwhite. 

Resource Science and Private Land Services staffs have 

initiated a case study to determine the effectiveness of 

having several farms with quality quail habitat close 

together compared to being scattered across the 

landscape. The Knox County Quail Focus Area (in 

central Knox County) and Sweet Springs Quail Focus 

Area (in southwest Saline County) were chosen because 

several landowners have restored significant acres of 

quail friendly habitat. Areas outside the focus areas, where little quality habitat remains, were 

chosen as control sites. Department staff are conducting fall whistle counts in the targeted area and 

outside the focus area to determine quail densities. 

Resource Science Divison and the University of Missouri's Food and Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) 
completed a farm-level economic analysis of participation in CP-33. Landowners from Ralls, Carroll, 
and Bates counties enrolled in CP-33 participated as panelists for a representative farm. Using real 
world yields, prices, operational costs, and soil rental rates within a sophisticated computer model, 
the economics were modeled for a 10-year period through the study. The information produced 
through the study are used to demonstrate the cost-benefits of participating in the CP-33 program 
on a statewide scale. 




Wildlife Division and Resource Science staff are completing a three year telemetry study on 

bobwhite quail on the Davisdale Conservation Area in Howard County and Locust Creek 

Conservation in Sullivan County. This 

informative study provided timely data on the 

preferred habitat types for bobwhite for 

nesting, brooding, roosting and escaped cover 

throughout the year. Information from this 

study has been share with private landowners 

and biologists at several workshops, 

conferences and national meetings. 

In 2008, Quail Unlimited funded a similar 
telemetry study in Andrew, Cass and Qsage 
Counties on private land. The goal of the 
study is to determine the habitat types used 
and behaviors of quail on private land, which 
is actively being managed for quail. By early 
November, several birds have been trapped 
and fitted with radio collars. 




A landowner's son with a 60-day old quail that was 
captured on November 13"^. 



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The birds are currently being tracked by 
Department staff, Quail Unlimited members and 
private landowners. Early reports from Andrew 
County indicate the radio collared birds rarely 
venture very far from edge feathering or native 
shrub thickets and are using recently disturbed 
areas in CRP fields, idle or planted food plots, 
unharvested crop fields and CP-33 field borders. 

In Osage County the birds are staying in a small 

area and are moving between several small, 

weedy old fields and open woodlands where the 

landowner recently completed both wildlife stand improvement and a prescribed burn. Observations 

from the Davisdale and Locust Creek telemetry study and Osage and Andrew County study have 

helped reinforce results of past studies and what biologists have been recommending to landowners 

- lots of bare ground and shrubby cover. 







REACHING OUT TO MISSOURIANS 

An important part of Missouri's quail plan is outreach efforts related to improving habitat and 
outdoor recreation. Each year. Department staff use a variety of media outlets, landowner 
workshops, field days and special events to promote quail habitat management, upland game 
hunting and outdoor recreation. 

In particular. Department staff and conservation partners annually host special hunts for youth, 
disabled hunters and women. These special events provided novice and experienced hunters an 
opportunity to learn more about upland game hunting, hunter safety and the basic habitat 
requirements of northern bobwhite. 

In 2008, staff held several landowner 
workshops and field days to promote 
quail habitat management. Each year, 
biologists host workshops on Ouail 
Emphasis Areas or private farms where 
landowners have done considerable 
work for northern bobwhite. In some 
counties private land conservationists 
have worked closely with one or two 
landowners to create demonstration 
farms for future landowner workshops. 
These field days and demo farms 
provide an opportunity for other 
landowners to observe good habitat 
management practices and for 
department staff to meet with 
landowners. In many cases, workshops 
were hosted in private land Ouail Focus 
Areas to spark landowner interest in 
quail management. 




Conservation Agent Tom Skinner working with eager 
hunters at a Quail Forever hunting event in Macon County. 



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MiBaauri Quail artd 

Graasland Bird 

Leadership 

Council 



In 2004, a Quail and Grassland Bird Leadership Council was formed 
to increase awareness and support for quail and grassland bird 
recovery efforts. In 2008 the Council was expanded to include 
representatives from the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, Missouri 
Soybean Association, Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource 
Conservation Service. 

In April 2008, the Council met to hear reports from quail biologists 
on recent habitat accomplishments, bird monitoring results and 
marketing efforts. Don McKenzie, NBCI Coordinator, also attended 
the meeting and provided an update on the current status of the 
NBCI. Other special guests included 
Scott County conservation partners who 
received the NBCI Group Achievement 
Award for their outstanding effort to 
restore quail habitat in Scott County. 

In October, the Council met in Cole Camp 
Missouri near Hi Lonesome Prairie and 
Mora Conservation Areas. The fall 
meeting highlighted the importance of 
targeted efforts and strong conservation 
partnerships. The Greater Prairie Chicken 

Recovery Plan and Master ^ 

Naturalist programs were 
highlighted during the evening 
dinner. The Benton County 
Cattlemen's Association cooked 
an incredible dinner for all 
those who attended. Over 40 
people, including Cole Camp 
Community leaders attended 
the informative evening 
meeting. 

The second day included a field 

trip to Hi Lonesome Prairie and 

Mora Conservation Areas where 

council members saw the value 

of greater prairie chicken 

management for bobwhite quail 

and grassland wildlife. Hi 

Lonesome Prairie Conservation Area is a popular destination for birdwatchers and naturalists. The 

area is managed primarily with patch burn grazing which has created excellent habitat for greater 

prairie chickens and bobwhite quail. 

The Council, made up of agricultural and conservation groups, farmers and upland bird hunters, has 
played a role in the creation of the youth quail and pheasant seasons, creation of the Bobwhite 
Ouail Challenge Grant, increased public and private land management efforts, endorsement of staff 
training programs, and provided recommendations to USDA on the CP-33 and CP-38 programs. 




Biologists Steve Clubine and Steve Cooper talking to council 
members on the benefits of patch burn grazing. 



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I n J une 2008, twenty-four high 

school students participated in 

the annual Quail Academy at 

the University of Central 

Missouri in Warrensburg. 

Sponsored by Quail Unlimited, 

the week long course provides 

high school students a unique 

opportunity to learn about quail 

and grassland birds, leadership 

skills, hunter safety, sporting 

clays, and a great chance to 

have fun and meet new people. 

Department staff assisted with 

the workshop by hosting a field 

trip at the Turkey Kearn 

Memorial Conservation Area and 

teaching the eager students about quail biology and habitat management at the University 

Central Missouri Shooting Range and Education Center. 



of 



In August, Quail Unlimited held their national convention in Springfield, Missouri. The past two 
years the event was held in the greater Kansas City area. Department of Conservation biologists 
Beth Cole and Aaron Jeffries were guest speakers at this year's convention and provided updates on 
the CP-33 monitoring project and other quail research projects, respectively. Earlier in the year. 
Quail Unlimited held their annual state chapter meeting in Jefferson City at the Runge Nature 
Center. Again, Department staff provided important updates to Quail Unlimited members on recent 
efforts to restore quail and grassland bird habitat in Missouri. 



In J une, the University of Missouri, Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Soybean 

Association hosted a bobwhite quail and native plant field day at the Bradford Farm Research and 

Extension Center in 

Columbia. Qver 150 

people attended the field 

day which included 

several wagon tours of 

quail habitat 

demonstrations and 

agriculture research plots 

on the farm. This year's 

workshop also included 

presentations from Tom 

Dailey and Bob Pierce on 

the latest in quail 

management. Special 

thanks to the Missouri 

Cattlemen's Association 

for providing hamburgers 

for all the hungry 

participants. 




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Over the years, the University's 

Bradford farm has been a popular 

destination for other conservation 

groups and organizations. Last 

summer, Quail Forever held part 

of their annual state meeting at 

Bradford Farm. Chapter members 

were treated to a guided tour of 

the farm. The evening event also 

included a presentation by Quail 

Forever CEQ, Howard Vincent on 

the new Farm Bill. Howard 

discussed the benefits of special 

conservation programs such as 

CP-33 and the new SAFE (CP-38) 

practices. He also spoke about 

the need to develop more 

partnerships and how quail 

recovery cannot be achieved in 

just a few years but that with our 

joint efforts, we will see increases in the state. 



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Quail Forever members touring Bradford Farm. 



In recent years, over 5,000 people have participated in educational programs and field days at 
Bradford Farm including landowners, agribusinesses, governmental agencies. Future Farmers of 
America Chapters, and other youth groups. Quail and grassland bird management and monitoring 
are an important part of the educational goals of Bradford Farm. 



Bradford Quail Focus Area and Bradford Research and Extension Center 

For many years, the Bradford Research and Extension Center (BREC) near Columbia has been an 
active participant in promoting quail habitat management. BREC holds several habitat field tours 
each year that showcase different quail habitat management practices such as edge feathering, 
shrub plantings, perennial food plots, native grass burning and disking techniques, as well as CP33 
habitat buffers. BREC is involved in more than just quail habitat practices. They have also installed 
practices such as native grass plantings in diversion channels, alternative forages of native grasses 
and forbs, invasive species control, and wildlife friendly biofuel mixes that demonstrate to 
landowners that applying these practices is not only economically feasible and helps to protect 
natural resources, but can also provide quality habitat for quail and other species of wildlife at the 
same time. This year, in addition to the habitat management practices, BREC trapped 4 adult male 
quail and attached radio transmitters to track their movements on the farm. The radioed quail were 
almost exclusively found using the perennial food plots, weedy fields that had recently been burned 
or disked and within woody draws that had been managed to provide a shrubby understory. During 
the Bobwhite Quail and Native Plant Field Day, at least 150 landowners had the opportunity to see 
first-hand where quail were located on the farm when telemetry locations were found during the tour. 
Also for the first time this year. Fall Whistle Counts were conducted in October to monitor the quail 
population trends on BREC. The surveys proved that quail habitat management works. The density 
estimate was 0.44 quail per acre. This is equivalent to approximately 38 coveys on BREC and the 
surrounding landscape. This estimate far outreaches the goal set for the entire Bradford Focus Area 
of 1 quail per 15 acres. 



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On a bright sunny morning in October, 
three northeast IMissouri high school 
FFA shooting teams received free 
shotgun shells for trap shooting from 
the Mark Twain Chapter of Ouail 
Unlimited. The Madison, Paris and 
South Shelby teams each received five 
cases of shells worth $375 from this 
active Ouail Unlimited chapter. The 
shotgun shells are one example of how 
Ouail Unlimited is supporting outdoor 
shooting sports. Bob Riley, chapter 
president, stated that he looks forward 
to this presentation each year. "Seeing 
the youth, along with their excitement 
and enthusiasm about conservation and 
shooting sports, is encouraging for 
individuals like me. These kids are the 
future of shooting sports, wildlife 
conservation and conservation groups 
such as Mark Twain OU." 




Paris High Scliool FFA Sliooting Team and member of 
tine Marl< Twain Cliapter of Quail Unlimited. 



Seniors Quail IHunt 

The Mid-MO Young Guns Quail Forever 
Chapter held a "first in the state" Seniors 
Hunt for members of the local nursing home. 
This past October, Jim Knowles, habitat 
chairman for the Mid-MO Young Guns 
chapter of Quail Forever came up with a 
brilliant idea. Jim has been doing habitat 
work on his Shelby County farm for many 
years in order to increase his quail and 
pheasant population. He religiously burns the 
farm and plants food plots as well as doing 
other management activities including strip 
disking and edge feathering. 

The chapter rallied around Jim's idea and in 
addition to a women's pheasant hunt that 
morning, they held the seniors hunt in the 
afternoon. It turns out that the seniors were 
content to visit with the dogs, ride along in 
the 6-wheelers and on the wagon and watch 
good bird dogs work. The seniors had a blast 
that day, with a lot of discussion about how 
they used to hunt and their favorite 
memories. It was a great event for both the 
chapter and the seniors. The chapter plans 
their rabbit hunt and their youth pheasant 
hunt for this winter! 




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MARKETING AND 
OUTREACH 

In 2008, Outreach and Education 
Division assisted field staff by 
providing a variety of outreach 
materials related to quail and 
grassland birds. For example, 
every issue of the Missouri 
Conservationist']^ 2008 had an 
article or news item on habitat 
management. Quail Emphasis 
Areas, Quail Focus Areas or 
landowner success stories related 
to quail or grassland birds. 



Qutreach and Education staff are 

also helping field staff by developing new marketing resources related to private land Quail Focus 
Areas, grassland Conservation Opportunity Areas and quail habitat management. For example, 
several short videos on habitat management and quail hunting have been posted on "YouTube". 
Department videos on quail hunting are posted at http://www.voutube.com/user/MQhuntinq and 
quail habitat management at http://www.voutube.com/user/MQIandowner . 

In December, Department staff completed work on a blog devoted to quail hunting and habitat 
management. The "Missouri Quail Recovery - Habitat is the Key!" blog can be found at 
http://morequail.bloqspot.com . Special thanks to Qutreach and Education staff Matt Seek, Syd 
Hime, Bonnie Chasteen, Kipp Woods, Karen 
Hudson and many others for their expertise and 
artistic eye with recent quail and grassland bird 
marketing efforts. 

The November 2008 issue of the l^issouri 
Conservationist \nc\ude6 an outstanding story by 
J im Low on how J eff Churan has turned his farm 
in northwest Missouri into a quail factory. The 
story highlights the steps J eff has taken over the 
years to improve his property for northern 
bobwhite and his family. Jeff has used a variety 
of habitat practices including prescribed burning, 
food plots, covey headquarters and edge 
feathering to improve his property for quail. His 
work and dedication helped Churan win the 2006 
Adopt-A-Covey Award from Quail Unlimited. 
However, the proof is in the birds. "In 1998, 
hunters were finding a covey every 40 to 60 
minutes. During the 2005-2006 season, they 
averaged one covey every 24 minutes. Qn one 
hunt, they moved nine coveys in 3.5 hours." 




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Available to quail enthusiasts is the new reference, Quail 
Friendly Plants of the Midwest This informative book 
was written and published by the University of Missouri 
Extension in cooperation with the Department of 
Conservation. This plant identification book features 56 
plants used by quail. The book includes color pictures, 
plant characteristics and quail habitat needs. Special 
thanks to Rob Chapman, Scott Sudkamp and Bob Pierce 
for developing this helpful and user-friendly guide. 

Many other conservation groups are also helping 
promote quail and grassland bird conservation by 
publishing stories and habitat management articles. In 
2008, articles on quail habitat management or editorials 
by Department biologists Tom Dailey, Aaron J effries or 
Bill White appeared in the Covey Rise, Quail Forever d^ud. 
Quail Unlimited magazines. Department biologists 
frequently contribute stories to these three magazines 
devoted to quail conservation. 

Today, other conservation partners and organizations 

also include information on quail and grassland bird habitat management and conservation efforts. 
The Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) magazine and website includes a habitat management section 
by Richard Datema, MPF's field manager. This advice column on land management provides 
landowners tips and recommendations on how to manage their prairie or grasslands for wildlife. 
Progressive Farmer has also devoted a webpage to quail habitat management. 




Department staff also broke new ground in 
2008 with a quail habitat management article 
in MQ Beef, the Missouri Cattlemen's 
Association magazine. The article highlighted 
quail habitat needs and ways to maintain 
quality cover for quail and wildlife in grazing 
systems. MFA also published two articles 
about private land Quail Focus Areas and 
habitat management in Today's Farmer. The 
articles in MFA's magazine have helped 
market the Department's private land Quail 
Focus Areas. MFA's popular Agronomy Guide 
also includes a section on quail habitat 
management and useful herbicides. The 
Agronomy Guide is available at all MFA farm 
supply stores. Private Land Services has also 
started work on placing quail habitat 
advertisements in farming and rural 
magazines to promote practices such as CP- 
33 and CP-38. The hope is to increase 
landowner interest in these popular and 
economical habitat practices. 



Grazing for Profit and Quail 




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In October, the National Wild Turkey Federation 
shot a three day fall turkey hunt on private land in 
central Missouri where extensive habitat work has 
been done for quail. The past couple years, the 
landowner has established native grass field 
borders, edge feathered, and restored woodlands 
and glades to improve habitat for bobwhites. As a 
result of the landowner's work, wild turkeys have 
also responded. The past two spring seasons a 
dozen gobblers have been harvested from this 350 
acre oasis for wildlife. 

During the three day production, NWTF staff filmed 
a successful fall hunt with the landowner's son and 
footage on how quail habitat management benefits 
wild turkey. The habitat video highlighted how to 
maintain diverse old field habitats with light disking 
and prescribed burning and how to restore 
woodlands and glades by thinning out undesirable 
trees and introducing prescribed fire. The National 
Wild Turkey Federation will feature the story and 
video in their magazine and "Get in the Game" TV 
series this spring. The landowners success and 
NWTF's interest in future videos reinforces the point 
that habitat management for northern bobwhite is 
beneficial to many other species. 




One of twelve gobblers harvested from a 
farm where intensive management has 
recently been done for quail! 



V()Iirki:y 
-QUAIL 

IfM^lTAT 

2008 



Once again, MDC's Lee Metcalf and Matt 
Seek teamed up to create the "Your Key to 
Ouail Habitat 2008" calendar. Similar to 
the Department's Natural Events Calendar, 
the quail calendar has quail and grassland 
bird art work and timely habitat 
management hints and life history traits of 
quail and grassland birds. The 2009 "Your 
Key to Ouail Habitat" calendar is free and 
available at your local Department office. 
This year 15,000 copies were printed and 
are currently being distributed to 
landowners. 

The Covey Headquarters Newsletter 
continues to provide quail enthusiasts the 
latest information on quail habitat 
management, conservation program updates and landowner 
success stories. Since 2002, staff from the Northwest Region 
have published the quarterly newsletter which is entirely 
devoted to bobwhites. Today, the Covey Headquarters 
Newsletter has over 10,000 subscribers. 




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REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS 

A key element of the state recovery plan was the development of Regional Quail Plans. In 2004, 
Department staff in each region created goals and objectives to restore quail and grassland bird 
habitat on private and public land. Department staff have been working with landowners and 
farmers to improve quail habitat on recreational and working farms. Field staff have also increased 
public land management efforts on Conservation Areas throughout the state. Another key 
component has been developing regional workshops and field days to promote quail and grassland 
bird habitat management and outdoor recreation related to quail conservation. It will ultimately be 
local and regional efforts that restore bobwhite habitat at a landscape level. 



CENTRAL REGION 



Covey Junction Quail Focus Area Demonstration Farm 

In the middle of the Covey Junction Quail Focus Area lies Bruce and Jan Sassman's farm. The 

private land focus area covers portions of Gasconade, Maries and Osage Counties. In the future the 

Sassman's farm will serve as a demonstration site for workshops and field days. With the help of 

private land conservationist Kyle Lairmore, 

they have been working to restore 50 acres 

of native grass and forbs as well as about 40 

acres of woodland/glade/ savanna 

restoration. The farm had been a mix of 

fescue pasture and cropland. Along with all 

the wildlife projects they are also developing 

an educational site as well. The Sassman's 

feel the key to wildlife restoration on a 

landscape scale is educating the public. So 

to help with this, they are restoring an old 

barn on the farm which will be used as an 

education center for landowner workshops 

and school programs. Jan is a teacher by 

trade, so working with adults and youths, 

teaching them about native grasses and 

forbs is her goal. She has attended multiple 

courses at Shaw Nature Center learning 

about native plants, which she plans to 

share with others on the farm. They also 

have a growing specimen garden by the 

barn which they have planted every plant 

species, plus some, that can be found on the 

farm. The purpose is to allow people to 

study the plant in the garden, then go out 

into the grassland and find it. Both Jan and 

Bruce are very active in the local Four Rivers 

Quail Forever Chapter and plan to have a 

habitat display and habitat raffle at this 

year's banquet. 




[ Strate 









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Jan and Bruce Sassman working with private land 
conservationist Kyle Lairmore on their Osage 
County Farm. 



Strategic Guidance for Nortiiern Bobwiiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 




26 




Public Land 
Managers Work to 
Restore Quail 
Friendly Habitats 

Constantly wet and 

muddy conditions 

hindered public land 

management efforts the 

past year as 2008 went 

down as one of the 

wettest years on record. 

Despite the unfavorable 

field conditions, Central 

Region field staff 

continued the annual 

task of treating invasive 

plants such as tall 

fescue, sericea 

lespedeza, autumn olive and bush honeysuckle. In 2008, the work team of Steven Noll, Leon 

Borges, Sabe Canton and Brandon Hodges did an exceptional job of controlling tall fescue and 

improving early successional habitat for bobwhites with prescribe fire and strip disking on the 

Davisdale Conservation Area in Howard County. 

Like the rest of the state, efforts made to provide dove hunting opportunities were setback by 
continuous spring and summer rains. In some cases staff or permittee farmers were not able to 
plant fields until J uly or not at all. By late J uly, work teams feverishly worked to plant millet food 
plots for dove hunting or to burn fallow wheat fields. By fall, work teams begun strip disking and 
spraying fescue in old fields and grasslands to improve brooding cover for bobwhites. 

During 2008, work teams at Davisdale, Whetstone Creek and Danville Conservation Areas started or 

completed large woodland restoration projects that will eventually benefit bobwhites, wild turkey 

and other wildlife. Several other 

woodland restoration projects are 

scheduled for these and other 

conservation areas. Wildlife and 

Forestry Division staff have been 

rather creative in finding ways to 

complete the task of thinning 

overstocked woodlands. Area 

managers are using regional 

workdays, conservation contractors 

or timber sales to remove 

undesirable trees. After thinning out 

the unwanted trees, crews try to 

reintroduce fire to the site on a three 

to five year cycle to encourage native 

wildflowers and grasses. In most 

cases restoration will take 10 to 20 

years to fully restore woodland 

communities. 




Biologists Chad Smith and Jeff Demand discussing future 
management at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area, a 
designated Quail Emphasis Area in central Missouri. 



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Lamine River Conservation 
Area Worl<day 

On December 30, Central Region 

staff from Wildlife, Forestry, 

Fisheries, Private Land Services 

and Outreach and Education 

Divisions participated in a habitat 

workday on the Lamine River 

Conservation Area, a designated 

Ouail Emphasis Area in Cooper 

and Morgan County. This year, 

staff worked to improve woody 

cover for bobwhites, rabbits and 

other wildlife by edge feathering 

fencerows and timber along crop 

fields and old fields on the 

Lamine River Conservation Area. 

Wildlife management biologists Kent Korthas, estimates over 8,300 linear feet of edge feathering 

was completed in one day on the conservation area. On average, it takes an entire year to 

complete this amount of edge work. 

The Central Region uses annual workdays to complete significant habitat and area maintenance 
projects on conservation areas throughout the region. The workdays also give staff the opportunity 
to work together and share experiences. Workdays were also held on Davisdale and Whetstone 
Creek Conservation Areas, both are designated Ouail Emphasis Areas. 




"Hunted Davisdale Conservation Area yesterday and WOW! I have never seen so muchi 
quality quail cover. We found some real nice milo and buffer strips that looked real 
promising. Found some birds too. I think I am going to go back again tomorrow and 
give it another try." 

MattWehrle 



Quail Unlimited Ozark Border 
Bobwhites Scores a Hit with 
Youth 

The Ozark Border Bobwhites 
Chapter of Ouail Unlimited held its 
first youth event on December 6, 
2008. This event was held in 
partnership with the Missouri 
Department of Conservation. 
Promoting the hunting heritage 
and serving youth is part of the 
mission of this local organization, 
and this youth event helps to fulfill 
the chapter's mission. The event 
was held at Ouail Creek Game 
Farm near Union. Department 
private land biologists Jeff 



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Dierking, Kyle Lairmore and John Knudsen were on hand to assist with the hunt and to talk about 
quail habitat management. The group received safety instruction followed by clay target shooting. 
The remainder of the morning was spent on an actual hunt for bobwhites. After lunch, the group 
was given an opportunity to hunt pheasants. There were 12 young people who participated. Their 
participation also included a complementary membership in Quail Unlimited. Each year the Ozark 
Border Bobwhites Chapter of Quail Unlimited hosts a habitat workshop and a banquet in Gasconade 
or Franklin County. 

Woodland Restoration Efforts 

In the rolling river hills in northeast 

Moniteau County, a landowner is 

halfway through a woodland 

restoration project that equals many 

public land projects. Qver the past 

three years the landowner has 

worked to thin several hundred acres 

of degraded woodland. The massive 

private land woodland restoration 

project would not have been possible 

if it was not for the federal EQI P and 

WHIP programs which have provided 

the necessary cost share to hire 

conservation contractors who have 

removed cedar, locust, elm and 

undesirable oak and hickory from the degraded woodland 

sites. With technical assistance and burn plans from private 

land conservationist Chris Newbold, the landowner has 

successfully completed several prescribed burns to reduce 

the amount of dead woody vegetation lying on the ground. 

Less than one year after the prescribed burn, Chris and the 

landowner have already noticed a variety of native grasses 

and wildflowers in the woodlands. The landowner has also 

seen bobwhites, wild turkey and white-tailed deer using 

these restored sites. 



Tipton Upland Plain Quail Focus 

Private land conservationist Chris Newbold continues to 
work with recreational landowners and production farmers 
in the Tipton Upland Plain Quail Focus Area in western 
Moniteau County. For several years, a few landowners have 
aggressively managed their farms for bobwhites and is one 
reason why Department staff are targeting this part of 
Moniteau County for bobwhites. Landowner success stories 
have been practically unbelievable as quail densities have 
increased dramatically on these intensively managed farms. 
Landowners in the focus area actively managing CRP 
grasslands with prescribed fire and light disking and have 
completed vast amounts of edge feathering. In recent 
years, a few production farmers have taken advantage of 
CRP and have enrolled their crop field edges into CP-33. 




Friends Ron Lehman and Daryl 
Raithel have worked to restore 
quail habitat on their adjoining 
farms in the Tipton Upland Plain 
Quail Focus Area. 



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KANSAS CITY REGION 

Private Land Management 

In October, Cass County was 

recognized as only the second 

county in the nation to achieve its 

Northern Bobwhite Conservation 

Initiative habitat goals. In 2008, 

bobwhite numbers continued to 

improve with several favorable 

reports from hunters and 

landowners in Cass County and 

the Cass County Quail Focus Area. 

Private land conservationist Andy 

Carmack feels quail are making a 

quick comeback after two horrible 

years of summer floods and winter 

ice storms. The quick recovery 

may not have been possible if it was not for the widespread habitat improvements in the county. 

Much of the work completed in Cass County would not have been possible if it was not for active 
landowners and strong conservation partners like the West-Central Missouri Chapter of Quail 
Unlimited. Over the years, Department biologists have worked with private landowners to enrol 
field edges in CP-33 and entire fields into CRP and CREP. Other conservation cost share 
programs such as Quail Unllmlted's Quail Habitat Initiative and MDC's Landowner Assistance 
Program have helped filled in the gaps where federal programs could not be administered. 




In 2008 Department staff in the 
Kansas City Region continued to 
focus management efforts on 
targeted landscapes for bobwhite 
quail and greater prairie chickens. 
Private land conservationists Sharron 
Gough and Kathy Cooper continue to 
work passionately with landowners in 
the Wah'KonTah (near El Dorado 
Springs) and Hi-Lonesome/Cole Camp 
Conservation Opportunity Areas, 
respectively. These Conservation 
Opportunity Areas not only include 
greater prairie chicken focus areas 
but also quail focus areas. The 
ultimate goal in these focus areas is 
to restore open grasslands for 
grassland birds including prairie 
chickens and bobwhites by removing 
trees and restoring tallgrass prairie 
and converting fescue pastures to 
native warm-season. 




As a result of CP-33 field borders and other conservation 
practices and programs Cass County is only the second 
county in the nation to achieve NBCI habitat goals. 



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4^ 



Mother Nature Challenges 
Public Land Managers 

Like the rest of the state, 
extreme weather conditions - 
whether ice, snow or flooding - 
hindered habitat restoration 
efforts in 2008. Despite the 
extremely wet conditions, public 
land managers were able to 
complete several planned 
prescribed burns on public 
lands. Staff continue to 
aggressively burn public land 
grasslands in greater prairie 
chicken focus areas such as 
Turkey Kearn, Hi-Lonesome 
Prairie and Taberville Prairie 
Conservation Areas in west- 
central Missouri. Staff use a 
year-round burn philosophy to 
create a variety of habitat 
conditions for grassland wildlife. 
On some conservation areas, public land managers have implemented patch burn grazing (a type of 
managed grazing) by contracting with local cattle producers to graze public land prairies and 
grasslands. This type of managing grazing benefits grassland wildlife by providing a variety of early 
successional habitats, and also benefits livestock producers by providing summer forage and good 
weight gains during the summer. 



P 



Despite being a "seepy mess" for most of the year, staff at 
Harmony Mission Lake Conservation Area successfully 
completed several prescribed burns in 2008. 



At Harmony Mission Lake/Peabody Conservation Area in Bates County, a designated Quail Emphasis 

Area in the Kansas City Region, staff were able to complete 139 acres of prescribed burning and 26 

acres of fescue eradication in 2008. In-between the frequent rain events. Wildlife Division staff 

were busy edge feathering and 

spraying tall fescue field edges 

on the conservation area. In 

fact, staff completed almost 

10,000 linear feet of edge work 

on the conservation area last 

year. 

This winter, staff are feverishly 
working with a skid-steer to 
reclaim overgrown old fields 
and to complete additional 
edge feathering around the 
area. The district work team, 
which also manages Four 
Rivers Conservation Area (the 
state's largest managed 
wetland area), is wishing for 
drier conditions in 2009. 




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Wildlife Division staff 

had high hopes of 

beginning prairie 

restoration work on 

Mora Conservation Area 

in Benton County this 

year. This complex plan 

involves removing 

undesirable trees and 

converting unwanted 

vegetation to a native 

grass and wildflower 

mix. Unfortunately, 

muddy conditions 

delayed most of the 

habitat work until 2009. 

In the meantime, work 

teams focused their 

efforts on the Ionia Ridge Conservation Area in Benton County. Last year, staff spent a considerable 

amount of time spraying invasive plants such as tall fescue, removing trees and unwanted fences 

from the conservation area. 

Truman Lake District 

The district work team of Monte McQuillen, Terry Bath, Larry White and Mark Sperry and part-time 
staff Dan Nash and Gerald Newman worked to improve habitat for bobwhites on public land around 
Truman Reservoir. The work team manages over 20,000 acres of United States Corps of Engineers 
public land around Truman Reservoir. In between record lake levels, the crew worked to improved 
old fields around Truman Reservoir by conducting prescribed burns, strip disking, invasive plant 
control or food plot establishment. In 2008, the work crew impacted at least 1,100 acres in Henry 
County alone. 





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NORTHEAST REGION 

Bee Trace District 

Public land management has focused on improving habitat on Thomas Hill Reservoir Conservation 
Area, a designated Quail Emphasis Area (Macon and Randolph County) and Atlanta Conservation 
Area (Macon County). In 2008 resource forester Brian Schweiss and wildlife management biologist 
David Stroppel completed a forest inventory of Thomas Hill Reservoir to identify potential woodland 
restoration sites. The long term goal is to restore open woodlands around the lake for bobwhites, 
wild turkey and other wildlife. David and Brian are hoping to contract timber sales on the area to 
complete some of the necessary thinning and reduce the total cost of the project. Depending on the 
site, woodland thinning and restoration can cost $100 to $400 per acre. 



The Salt River Quail Focus Area located east of Macon saw some additional habitat work done in 
2008 with about 500 acres prescribed burned and another 50 acres of warm season grass 
established. Unfortunately, due to this year's wetter than normal conditions and past ice storms, 
private land conservationist Ted Seller hasn't heard many great reports about high quail numbers 
last fall. Nonetheless, good habitat will help 
speed up recovery when favorable weather 
conditions return. 

The biggest highlights in Macon County this 

year were the first ever Quail Forever youth 

and women's pheasant hunts. At both 

hunts, participants were given a brief 

overview of quail and pheasant habitat 

requirements, and a firearm safety lesson. 

The youth hunt was held in J anuary 2008 

and had enough kids signed up that the hunt 

had to be divided into a morning and 

afternoon hunt (nearly 20 youth 

participated). Every kid bagged at least one 

pheasant, and all had a great time. The 

women's hunt had 10 participants and once again, all had 

a great time. For many, it was their first time hunting and 

for some, the first time firing a shotgun. 



Macon County SWCD recognizes the Timpe 
family as "Conservationist of the Year" 

Larry Timpe (shown to the right), chapter president of 
the Mid MO Young Guns and his wife, Sandy Timpe, 
chapter treasurer were awarded the Macon County 
Conservationist of the Year at the local Soil and Water 
District Annual Meeting in Macon. Larry and Sandy 
were praised for their efforts at increasing youth and 
women's conservation education in the area through 
their work with Quail Forever. Presenting the award 
was Ted Seiler, Private Land Conservationist. 




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ass; 



:=T3: 



Fabius River District (Clarl<, Lewis, Knox and 
Scotland) 

The 12,000 acre Quail Focus Area located in Knox County 
continues to make great strides in developing quality quail 
habitat throughout the area. Since the inception of the area 
in 2006, 15 landowners have developed quail management 
plans and implement practices on 22 different farms. Nine 
miles of CP-33 buffers have been installed along with nearly 
200 new edge feathered covey headquarters. Landowners in 
the focus area were featured in J uly 2008 issue of the 
Missouri Conservationist. In April 2008, private land 
conservationist John Pinkowski provided an update to the 
Quail and Grassland Bird Leadership Council on the successful 
focus area, recent habitat accomplishments and bird 
responses to management efforts. 

The annual habitat tour of the area was 
well attended again this year and 
provided the attendees with an 
opportunity to be updated on the 
progress of the area and to view the 
quail habitat accomplishments of their 
neighbors (Knox County QFA members 
are pictured to the right). 
Recommendations by a four member 
volunteer landowner advisory committee 
to the Department of Conservation have 
been implemented including a fall whistle 
count survey of the area. 

Landowners are seeing the results of their hard work pay off with higher quail numbers and this in 
turn has led to additional cooperators joining the cause over the past year. In fact, fall whistle 
counts conducted by Department staff and landowners heard twice as many coveys in the focus 
area as compared to private land outside the focus area. 



L 'V'Zft^L^^^^^^^^A ^V 


> r 
■ r 




W^M 


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Henry Sever Conservation Area 

Last summer, biologists evaluated habitat 
conditions for bobwhites on Henry Sever 
Conservation Area, a designated Quail 
Emphasis Area in the Northeast Region. 
Pictured is Darlene Bryant, wildlife 
management biologist, evaluating 
brooding cover in an idle food plot. Idle 
food plots provide ideal brooding cover for 
bobwhites and other wildlife. Over the 
past year, staff have been working to 
improve brooding cover and shrubby 
cover for bobwhites on this intensively 
managed area. 




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Green Hills District (Adair, Putnam, 
Schuyler, Sullivan Counties) 

Wildlife Division staff completed a variety 

of habitat manipulations directed at 

improving quail habitat throughout the 

district. Locust Creek and Union Ridge 

Conservation Areas were the primary 

recipients of these activities, but all 

conservation areas have some level of 

quail management applied during the 

year. These manipulations include 2,500 

acres of prescribed fire, 1,500 acres of 

leased farming operations, 900 acres of 

timber stand improvement to open up 

woodland stands, 40 acres of grassland conversion, 300 acres of food plots, 250 acres of old 

management, and over 7 acres of edge feathering. 



field 



During 2008, substantial progress was made in the management of grassland bird habitat in the 

Mystic Plains Conservation Opportunity Area in southwest Adair County and southeast Sullivan 

County. This "progress" was impressive in the quality of habitat managed and the display of 

landowner participation and hard work. One 

of the major goals of the Greater Prairie 

Chicken Recovery Plan is to establish a 2,000 

acre core area of management to have a 

positive impact on grassland birds, especially 

the greater prairie chicken. In 2008, private 

land conservationist John Murphy assisted 

several neighbors in the Mystic Conservation 

Opportunity Area whose properties totaled 

over 2,700 acres. This assistance included 

management plans, burn plans, 

demonstration burns, and cost share 

assistance to enhance habitat. Although not 

every acre is under management and these 

landowners have not accomplished 

everything they set out to do, broad inroads 

have been started to have a positive resource 

impact on a landscape scale. 

Two of the biggest factors to any success in 
the Mystic Conservation Opportunity Area 
have been 1) functioning partnerships and 2) 
showcase properties. Currently, the Missouri 
Prairie Foundation, the Missouri Department 
of Conservation, and the United States Fish 
and Wildlife Service have been proactively 
working with landowners to provide technical 
and financial assistance. These partnerships 
allow flexibility in the delivery of programs, 
outreach, and public support. 





Restored habitat after a prescribed burn on f/?e 
Klingsmith property. 



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Certain projects garnered much attention, especially with local landowners. The highest profile 
project was prairie restoration and woody cover control on the two neighbors, Joshua Shoop and 
Kevin Carpenter. These adjoining properties totaled approximately 230 acres of heavily grazed 
pasture and hay ground. Through MPF salesmanship, MDC technical advice, and funds from a 
variety of state & federal funds, over one half mile of mature fence line was removed, 58 acres of 
encroaching locust and cedar removed, and 75 acres of extremely rich prairie was burned. The buzz 
of activity around these two properties has been a productive segue into technical plans and positive 
relationships with other neighbors, who, in turn, are starting to implement practices on their own 
land. Considering that the Mystic Conservation Opportunity Area is in 100% private ownership, it 
will take a surge of positive landowner experiences like these to make a real difference on the 
landscape. Up to this point, avian response has been anecdotal, but reports of increased numbers 
of bobolink and dickcissel will surely continue as we progress into another nesting season. 

Mark Twain District (Marion, 
Monroe, Pil<e and Ralls County) 

In the Mark Twain District (as in the 
rest of the state), 2008 saw the end of 
a very successful Conservation 
Reserve Enhancement Program 
(CREP). Monroe County enrollment in 
this native grass conservation program 
reached over 2,900 acres including 
850 acres of CP-33 field borders. With 
an estimated average width of 40 ft, 
this translates to 175 miles of quail 
friendly borders established within 
Monroe County. Besides the native 
grasses established through this 
program, over 40 acres of woody 
cover were also established through 
shrub planting, downed tree structures 
and edge feathering. During this flurry 
of activity, private land conservationist 
James Ebbesmeyer worked closely with 
cooperators and the local USDA and SWCD 
offices on wildlife planning and timely 
advice. 

Landowners in the Mark Twain District also 
benefited from a strong Quail Unlimited 
presence in the form of the Mark Twain QU 
Chapter. Members and non-members of this 
group took advantage of over $10,000 in 
MDC and Mark Twain Quail Unlimited cost 
share funds to implement quail friendly 
habitat practices on their property, including: 
prescribed burning, edge feathering, fescue 
eradication, food plots and native warm 
season grass planting. A joint MDC and QU 
seed day was held in April, resulting in over 




A CP-33 field border in Monroe County provides nesting 
liabitat for bobwhites, pheasants and wild turkey. 




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600 acres of food plot seed being bagged 
and distributed to over 150 landowners. 
The Mark Twain Quail Unlimited Chapter 
along with a NWTF Superfund grant 
resulted in a new ready to go 
management unit for private landowners. 
The unit, which contains all the equipment 
to burn, spray, and seed, is available for 
rent to those landowners who want to 
improve quail habitat on their property but 
do not have the proper equipment. 

Outreach and Education programs about 
quail and quail habitat management took 
place during several events held in the 
district during 2008. Youth were reached through the United States Corps of Engineers 
Environmental Education Day and a Day with Wildlife. Adults were targeted at events such as the 
KRES Lifestyle Fair, Evening with Wildlife, Daughters of the American Revolution program and the 
"Fall into Paris" event. Habitat management articles were also published in the Soil and Water 
Conservation District newsletter. In addition, prescribed burn training was held for the local fire 
departments to help them better understand how prescribed burning can be completed safely and 
how it can be beneficial for wildlife habitat development. 

Activities in the Paris Quail Focus Area included shrub plantings, edge feathering, fescue eradication, 
prescribed burning and strip disking. A meeting was held with the Missouri Department of 
Transportation and the Monroe County Commission in regards to establishing a quail friendly 
shrub/native grass planting on state right of way at the northeast corner of the focus area. The 
third and fourth editions of "IN FOCUS", the Paris Focus Area newsletter, were published in 2008. 
Summer cock call and fall whistle count surveys continued to be conducted both within and outside 
of the focus area to determine the effectiveness of concentrated habitat work on several farms. 



Pike county landowner, Mark Buehrle, 
utilized Quail Habitat Initiative cost 
share to restore habitat on his farm. 
This cost share was made possible by 
a cooperative agreement between 
Quail Unlimited and the Department 
of Conservation. With technical 
assistance from private land 
conservationist Tim Brooks, Mark 
established 49 acres of field borders 
on his farm. As a result, his quail 
population increased from 2 coveys 
to 17 coveys in 2 years. Although 
Mark is not within a quail focus area, 
his efforts demonstrate the interest 
of landowners and Private Land 
Services Divisions' dedication to 
promoting good quail habitat 
throughout the Northeast Region. 




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NORTHWEST REGION 
Public Land Accomplishments 

Nodaway District Conservation Areas (Atchison, Holt and Nodaway County) 

In the Nodaway District, biologists planted 55,000 shrubs (wild plum, blackberry, dogwood, 
hazelnut, and ninebark) which created approximately 18,000 feet of edge habitat. Four hundred 
acres of food plots were planted and 250 acres were disked or treated with herbicide to set back 
smooth brome and late successional broadleaves. Two hundred acres of unharvested crop strips 
were overseeded with desirable legumes that will be left idle the following year. These totals do not 
include management where overall grassland management was the focus, but areas where quail 
and pheasants were emphasized. 



Upper Grand Riyer District Conservation Areas (Gentry, Harrison and Worth County) 
Seat Memorial Conservation Area - In 2008, one mile of woodland edges and woody draws 
were edge feathered, nine miles of field edges were disked and either seeded to annual grain or left 
fallow, 300 acres of native grass and old fields were strip disked, 232 acres of grasslands and old 
fields were sprayed for fescue, 84 acres of woodlands were thinned via hack and squirt and 100 
acres of old field were burned. Winter and spring weather hampered burning, but a few late spring 
and summer burns were completed. As a 
designated Quail Emphasis Area in Worth 
and Gentry County, staff are monitoring 
quail and songbird densities on the 
conservation area. 

Grand River Grassland Conservation 
Opportunity Area - In 2008, 230 acres of 
native prairie were burned and spayed for 
cool-season grass invasion and sericea 
lespedeza control on Pawnee Prairie Natural 
Area in Harrison County. Approximately 
100 acres was harvested for native 
wildflower seed. In March 2008, 415 acres 
on The Nature Conservancy's Dunn Ranch 
was seeded with native wildflowers and 
grasses harvested in 2007. 

In all, 500 acres of grasslands and old 
fields were burned, l-Vi miles of edge 
feathering occurred, nearly 10 miles of field 
edges were disked and seeded to annual 
grain or left fallow, 250 acres of grasslands 
and old fields were sprayed for fescue, 300 
acres were strip disked, 84 acres of 
woodlands were thinned using hack and 
squirt and 165 acres of old field renovation 
using chainsaws and a bull hog was 
accomplished on public land. 




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St. Joseph District Conservation Areas f Andrew and Buchanan County) 

During 2008, wet conditions delayed early spring burns and other spring disturbances at Happy 
Holler Conservation Area, a designated Quail Emphasis Area in central Andrew County. Fall covey 
counts were a little better than 2007 season. Despite the wet conditions 60 acres of food plots were 
completed. During 2008 over 17,096 linear feet of edge was developed or enhanced on the area. 
Timber stand improvement accomplishments included 30 acres of thinning and 50 acres of post 
timber sale treatments. We conducted 210 acres of prescribed burning, and an additional 80 acres 
of mowing/disking disturbance. Approximately 25 acres of cool-season grass was converted to a 
native grass and wildflower mixture. Old field accomplishments included: 30 acres of woody 
removal and 20 acres of sericea lespedeza treated. 

Lower Grand River District Conservation Areas 

Located in northern Livingston County is the Poosey Conservation Area. As a designated Quail 
Emphasis Area, management continues to focus on providing brood rearing and woody/shrubby 
cover for bobwhite quail and grassland birds. Habitat work completed by Phil Sneed, Rick Falconer 
and Matt McDonald was directed towards setting back succession with prescribed burning (128 
acres), strip spraying (15 acres) and strip disking (38 acres) in old fields and grasslands, controlling 
invasive species (89 acres) and creating or enhancing potential covey headquarters (4,200 linear 
feet of edge was completed with an additional 18,600 feet under contract). In addition, the work 
team participated in the field appraisal this summer on the area. The purchase this fall of a 3-point 
boomless sprayer will increase staffs ability to spray invasive plants such as tall fescue and sericea 
lespedeza in 2009. 



Missouri River District Conservation Areas 

Bunch Hollow Conservation Area is a 3,200 acre Quail Emphasis Area within the 2C Quail Focus area 
in northern Carroll County. During 2008, the work team experienced very wet conditions throughout 
the growing season. Quail numbers for the spring whistle counts remained similar to 2007. 
However, staff noticed higher numbers of broods during the summer and late fall. Fall covey survey 
counts were higher than 2007 and the surveyors flushed 14 coveys during the two days of 
monitoring, with an average 



covey size of 12.8 birds. 
Despite wet conditions in the 
field this year, the crew was still 
able to plant approximately 70 
acres of food plots and 
overseed 165 acres of legumes. 
District staff sprayed 115 acres 
of sericea lespedeza and 35 
acres of fescue along field 
edges and man-made covey 
headquarters. Approximately 
25 acres of old field was treated 
for woody encroachment by 
mowing and spraying. During 
2008, staff enhanced 
approximately 34,848 linear feet 
of edge on Bunch Hollow 
Conservation Area through edge 
feathering. 



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Shown in the picture, fescue and brome must be sprayed prior to 
edge feathering woody draws and hedgerows. 



Strategic Guidance for Nortiiern Bobwiiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 




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Pony Express District 
Conservation Areas 

A big push on the Bonanza 

Conservation Area in 

Caldwell County (a Quail 

Emphasis Area) is to 

eliminate smooth brome and 

fescue from the 1,871 acre 

conservation area. With the 

use of dozing and spraying, 

the work team was able to 

prepare 170 acres for 

conversion to wildlife 

friendly grass mixes. By the 

fall of 2008, staff had 

successfully treated most of 

the unwanted brome and 

fescue infested fields. Only 

a few isolated patches, less 

than five acres, still remain. 

Another project this coming 

spring will be to introduce 

prescribed fire to new areas identified as unusable space. These areas are mostly woodland with 

little understory to protect quail and provide food. 

The past year monitoring on Bonanza Conservation Area included the spring songbird survey in J une 
and fall whistle counts in October. The entire work team also participated in a field appraisal of the 
conservation area in July. The most often repeated recommendation from the field appraisal was a 
lack of soil disturbance that would provide brood rearing cover. Strip disking is a much needed 
practice that can be implemented on any area interested in improving quail habitat. 



Wildlife management biologist Dennis Browning in a field of partridge 
pea during the Bonanza Field Appraisal. 



Overall habitat practices on 
state land in the Pony Express 
District (Clinton, Caldwell, 
Daviess and DeKalb Counties) 
totaled 298 acres of food plots, 
217 acres of legumes 
overseeded in crop fields for 
brood rearing cover, 150 acres 
of light dozing to improve field 
conditions for spraying and 
reclaim dense woody stands, 
41,537 linear feet of edge 
enhancement, 368 acres 
sprayed to eliminate invasive 
weeds such as sericea 
lespedeza, smooth brome and 
fescue, plus 45 acres of 
prescribed fire on old fields. 





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Private Land Accomplishments 

St. Josepli District -Covey 
Headquarters Focus Area 

The district conducted the 6'^ Annual 
Covey Headquarters Landowner Tour in 
Andrew County. The event featured a 
fall whistle count survey and a 
landowner farm tour focusing on CRP 
mid contract management practices 
including a fall demonstration prescribed 
burn of warm season grasses. Other 
outreach efforts consisted of district 
staff hosting the MDC booth at the 
annual Saint Joseph Farm and Ag Show, 
distributing over 8,000 lbs. of food plot 
seed to 200 cooperators through the 
Missouri seed program, and participating 
in a farm tour for University of Missouri 
School of Agriculture - J ournalism students to 
interview landowners who are enhancing 
production and habitat through Farm Bill 
programs. 



i4»#. 




Participants listen to a presentation at tine 6 Annual 
Covey Headquarters Landowner Tour 



Heartland Chapter Quail Unlimited 
remains a valued partner 

The Heartland Chapter of Quail Unlimited 
continues to be an active and valued 
partner with quail and grassland bird 
recovery efforts in the Saint Joseph 
District. The district is currently 
participating in a private land managed 
CRP quail monitoring project in Andrew 
County that is financially sponsored by the 
Heartland Chapter. The purpose of the 
project is to document the use of macro 
habitats created by CRP mid-contract 
management practices. This project is a 
collaborative effort between MDC, 
Heartland Chapter QU, and Missouri 
Western State University biology faculty 
and students. The Heartland Chapter also 
conducted their annual youth day to 
introduce local youth to shooting sports 
including archery, shotgun shooting, 
hunter safety, and an opportunity for wing 
shooting with the use of dogs. 




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Heartland Quail Unlimited Chapter members receive top honors 

A big highlight of 2008 was two members of the Heartland Chapter of Quail Unlimited receiving the 
prestigious Budweiser Adopt-A-Covey Landowner of the Year Award. Heartland QU members, Jay 
Shewmaker and David Webber, were recognized for quail management efforts on their properties as 
well as their contribution to the education of others on upland wildlife management and quail biology 
through their local chapter. Jay and Dave received two of only eight regional awards given out 
nationally which is a testament to the tireless dedication and efforts of Heartland Chapter members 
to conservation. Lastly, Dave Webber also won the National QU Landowner Award. In Dave's own 
words, "Due to the continued effort of the Saint Joseph District, this accomplishment would have not 
been possible." 



n 




Missouri River and Pony Express 

Districts 

Carroll County (2C Quail Focus Area) 

Very wet conditions challenged efforts; 

however, several CRP-BOB cost share practices 

were completed this spring. In all, 21 

cooperators completed 772 acres of prescribed 

burning, 52.6 acres food plots, 3.5 acres or 

5082 linear feet of edge feathering, and 25 

acres of sericea lespedeza eradication. The 

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Partners 

Program provided cost share to landowners for 

27.5 acre savanna restoration and a 30 acre 

prairie restoration project by using herbicides to eradicate cool-season grass invasion along with 

prescribed burning to promote native grasses and wildflowers. MDC cost share projects included 

271 acres of sericea lespedeza eradication, 40.1 acres woody invasion control, and 6.5 acres native 

warm-season grass establishment. Over 900 acres of quail friendly CRP practices, such as CP-21, 

15B, 30, 29, 33 and 38E have been enrolled in the focus area. 

Caldwell County (2C Quail Focus Area) 

The future looks bright for quail habitat in the Caldwell County portion of the 2C Quail Focus Area. 
There were 16 acres of edge feathering or approximately 23,000 feet of edge created last year. 
Eighteen downed tree structures were constructed that were 30 feet by 50 feet in size, which total 
0.6 acres. Over 31,000 feet of woody edge was treated with herbicide to eliminate cool-season 
grass understory. There were over 31 acres of fescue converted to a quail friendly mix of little blue 
stem, side oats gramma, and native wildflowers. There were also 16 acres of crown vetch and 12 
acres of sericea lespedeza eradicated. We also wrote plans to construct 79 downed tree structures, 
2.25 acres of edge feathering, 7.2 acres of warm-season grass conversion, and 0.6 acres of woody 
edge treatment with herbicide which should be completed by June 2009. 



New Quail Forever Chapter Complements 2C Quail Focus Area 

A new Quail Forever Chapter was chartered in Carroll County. The 2C Quail Forever chapter's first 
fund raising banquet was a resounding success with over 200 in attendance. Funds raised will be 
used to complement 2C Focus Area outreach efforts and habitat projects. 



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Daviess County 

CP-38 has taken off in Daviess 

County with over 1,000 acres 

enrolled. ..and folks are still 

coming in to sign-up for the 

program. IMany of the 

producers showing interest 

were renewing old CRP 

contracts. This should result in 

a lot of fescue and brome 

being converted over to little 

blue stem, side oats gramma, 

and native forbs. The higher 

soil rental rates seem to appeal 

to most producers. Most 

individuals are going with the 

downed tree structures and the 

maximum 20% food plots. 

Given the current contracts, 

320 downed tree structures will 

be installed which, at 30 feet by 

50 feet in size, will total about 

11 acres and 1,155 shrubs will be planted to create about 15 covey headquarters. A producer 

successfully applied for the federal WHIP program which will result in the construction of 30 downed 

tree structures, planting 2,425 shrubs (grey dogwood, wild plum, hazelnut, and blackberry) for 

covey headquarters, 38.1 acres of native warm-season grass conversion (little blue stem, side oats 

gramma, alfalfa, and native forbs. Eleven acres of fescue were converted to native warm-season 

grass with MDC cost share funds, 16.9 acres of fescue over to native warm-season grass with CP29 

funds, and 153 acres of sericea lespedeza were treated with CRP-BOB cost share. 



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Worth Yost of Pattonsburg proudly showing off a downed tree 
structure and milo food plots along the edge of his woods and 
CRP. Mr. Yost is 78 years young and he's still able to get out and 
create quality quail habitat on his own. 



Clinton County 

Interest in quail and grassland 
bird management is growing in 
Clinton County. Using MDC cost 
share, 12.8 acres of fescue were 
converted to wildlife friendly 
grasses, 10 downed tree 
structures were constructed, and 
approximately 3,000 feet of 
woody edge habitat was sprayed 
with herbicide. 





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strip disking a CRP field with a roller chopper to improve 
brooding cover for bobwhites. 



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Strategic Guidance for Nortiiern Bobwtiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 




43 



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Nodaway River District 

CP-38 proved a very popular practice 
in Atchison, Holt and Nodaway 
Counties in 2008. Approximately 
1,300 acres of CP-38 were enrolled in 
the district this year. Several more 
contracts are being processed as of 
press time. Approximately 6 acres of 
edge feathering and 20 acres of 
fescue conversion were attained 
through Pheasant Forever/MDC cost 
share. Also, various CCRP practices 
such as CP-33 and CP-29 were also 
enrolled in the district, though not as 
many as in past years. 

Lower Grand River District - Poosey Quail Focus Area 

District staff was heavily engaged with outreach and education events within the Poosey Quail Focus 
Area and surrounding farmland in northern Livingston County. Outreach events consisted of a 
cooperative effort with the Livingston County Quail Forever Chapter to host a landowner workshop 
focusing on conservation elements of Farm Bill programs that benefit quail; hosting a quail 
management workshop and tour for the Chillicothe FFA Natural Resources class at the Poosey 
Conservation Area; conducting a prescribed burn workshop and fall whistle count workshop at the 
Poosey Conservation Area; featuring a display of focus area landowner accomplishments at the 
annual Quail Forever banquet; distribution of Poosey Quail Focus Area signs and calendars to local 
cooperators; submitting articles for the Livingston County SWCD newsletter, the Chillicothe 
Constitution Tribune spring and fall Qutdoor Editions: and providing several local radio programs on 
CP-33, CREP, CRP SAFE, CRP management, and food plots. 



Ten management plans were developed on private land within the Poosey Focus Area in 2008. They 
included 165 acres of timber stand improvement (TSI), 22 acres of CRP management and several 
acres of edge enhancement and food plots. Habitat practices implemented within the focus area in 
2008 included 52 acres of CRP SAFE, 42 
acres of native prairie restoration through 
the Fish and Wildlife Service Partners 
Program, 100 acres of TSI through the 
federal WHIP program, 10 acres of 
sericea lespedeza eradication, 3 acres of 
edge feathering, 2 acres of edge 
spraying, 13.5 acres of cool-season grass 
conversion, 122 acres of prescribed fire 
on CRP, and 10 acres of prescribed fire 
on old fields. Lower Grand River District- 
Wide Quail Friendly Summary: In Grundy 
County 773 acres enrolled into CREP, 100 
acres enrolled into CP-33 and 87 acres 
enrolled into CP-38. In Livingston 
County, 214 acres enrolled into CP-33, 
252 acres enrolled into CP-38 and four 
new federal WHIP contracts. 




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Upper Grand District and Grand 
River Grasslands Conservation 
Opportunity Area 

Much progress was made within the 

Grand River Grassland Conservation 

Opportunity Area (Harrison County) in 

2008. Outreach & Education efforts this 

year included a field trip which consisted 

of tour stations highlighting native 

warm-season grass conversion, CRP 

management and native grass seed 

harvesting techniques. A United States 

Fish and Wildlife Service grant has been 

fully allocated with 12 landowners to 

receive $45,000.00 in cost share funds 

to install habitat improvement practices. 

Projects are approximately 80% completed. Using Department of Conservation cost share, $14,000 

were allocated to 10 landowners to complete various habitat improvement practices. Tree removal 

and native grass conversion seem to be the practices that are gaining momentum. Several WHIP 

and EOlP contracts will eventually lead to 500 acres of native grass conversion and approximately 

100 acres of woody cover control in the near future. Lastly, approximately $20,000 was added to an 

existing WHIP contract through the McPheeter Grant for prairie chicken and grassland bird habitat 

establishment. In Mercer County 438 acres was enrolled into CREP, 460 acres into CP-33, 483 acres 

in CP-38 and two new federal WHIP contracts were initiated. 



Linn and Cliariton Countv 

In Linn and Chariton Counties Department staff were involved in numerous activities related to quail 
habitat management on private land. In 2008, Department staff and conservation partners 
distributed over 12,000 pounds of food plot seed to landowners. Through the Ouail Unlimited Quail 
Habitat Initiative, over $3,000 in cost share was allocated to habitat projects, but due to extremely 
wet conditions only a few of the projects have been completed to date. 



Department biologists have worked with landowners to develop plans for several new WHIP and 

EOlP contracts that involve habitat improvements for quail. In Linn and Chariton Counties two new 

WHIP contracts will involve 40 acres of native warm-season grass and wildflower establishment, 95 

acres of prescribed burning, 23 acres of old 

field renovation by removing unwanted 

trees, 7 acres of edge feathering and 14 

downed tree structures. One new EOlP 

contract in Linn County includes 22 acres of 

native warm-season grass and wildflower 

establishment, 22 acres of prescribed 

burning, 4 acres of old field renovation, 175 

acres of timber stand improvement for 

wildlife and 0.4 acres edge feathering. Both 

CP-33 and CP-38 continue to be popular 

practices in Linn and Chariton Counties. A 

total of 6 new CP-33 and CP-38 contracts 

were enrolled into these conservation 

programs in 2008. 




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OZARK REGION 

Landowner and Quail Focus 
Area Field Day Highlights 
Management at White River 
Trace Conservation Area 

In October 2008, the Rolla District 

Team and the Ozark Hills Ouail 

Forever Chapter sent invitations 

to all landowners in the White 

River Trace Ouail Focus Area 

located in Phelps and Dent 

County for a quail habitat field 

day. The workshop was held at 

the White River Trace 

Conservation Area, a designated 

Ouail Emphasis Area in Dent 

County. During the workshop. 

Department biologists provided 

landowners with plenty of habitat tips they could take home and apply on their farms. 




During the workshop, landowners saw recent examples of strip disking, woodland thinning, 
prescribed burning and covey headquarters plantings on the White River Trace Conservation Area. 
Department staff were on hand to show landowners how to properly complete various practices; 
however, the demonstration with a bullhog and tree shear were by far the biggest hits of the day. 
Both pieces of equipment are used on public land to cut down trees in old fields and grasslands to 
improve habitat conditions for northern bobwhite, cottontail rabbit and other wildlife. Over the past 
year. Department staff have been working to control large colonies of oak and hickory sprouts in old 
fields and grasslands on the White River Trace Conservation Area. Staff have become rather 
innovative and are even using weed-eaters with brush blades to cut some of the smaller trees. On 
other parts of the conservation area, staff are working to restore degraded woodlands such as the 
one pictured below. 

Landowners enjoyed being 
able to ask a variety of 
questions to Sarah Egly 
(private land conservationist), 
Justin Galley (wildlife 
management biologist), and 
Brian Hall (resource forester). 
The next event planned for 
the landowners in the White 
River Trace private land Ouail 
Focus Area is a Woman's 
Upland Bird Hunt for 20 
women and young ladies who 
will be able to see and enjoy 
the results of habitat 
management first hand on a 
private farm in the focus area. 




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Despite the wet weather in 2008, Department staff were still able to complete a few landscape level 
woodland prescribed burns on public land, often treating several hundred or even thousands of 
acres at a time. The Department of Conservation often partners with other state and federal land 
management agencies when conducting landscape level prescribed burns. At a smaller scale. 
Wildlife Division staff were also able to meet their annual goal of burning over one-third of Cover 
Prairie Conservation Area, a designated Quail Emphasis Area in Howell County. This aggressive goal 
has helped maintain excellent habitat conditions for bobwhites on this conservation area. 

Community Involvement Key to 
Howell County Quail Focus Area 

The Howell County Quail Focus Area, 

just south of West Plains, received a 

boost this past year by coordinating the 

formation of a citizen run Quail Forever 

Chapter. Private land conservationist 

Brad McKee feels conservation partners 

and active members and landowners 

are a great asset to the Department and 

essential for the quail focus area to 

succeed. Members of the local Quail 

Forever Chapter helped raise cost share 

money for the organization and assisted 

with field days and outreach efforts in the focus area. 




Landowners in the focus area have placed a priority on improving habitat for bobwhites and 
recruiting youth into the outdoors. Since the formation of the chapter in August, two field days 
have been held in the focus area to provide critical information on bobwhite habitat management 
and to attract other landowners in the focus area. The first workshop included fall whistle count 
training for private landowners. The training was provided by resource scientist Beth Cole and Elsa 
Gallagher with Quail Forever. The remainder of the field day was spent touring native grass 
plantings and woody cover plots on Lynn Henry's property and open woodland management on the 
Travis Morrison property. The second field day was on Chuck Morgan's property where participants 
were shown open woodland management along with early successional practices and native grasses 
in their early stages of 
development. Both 
workshops were well 
attended by landowners 
within the focus area. 

The future looks bright for 
the Howell County Quail 
Focus Area. Chapter events 
and quail habitat messages 
have been strongly supported 
by the local media. Events 
planned in the near future 
include a youth quail hunt 
and of course a fundraising 
banquet. 




[ StraU 



A restored pine/oak woodland in the Ozark Region. 



Strategic Guidance for Nortiiern Bobwiiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 




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SAINT LOUIS REGION 

Cuivre River Wildlife 
Management Association 
Forms in Lincoln County 

The first meeting of the Cuivre 
River Wildlife Management 
Association was held on October 
23, 2008 in Lincoln County. The 
meeting was attended by 
approximately 85 area landowners 
and hunters, who approved their 
bylaws and elected their board of 
directors and officers. Private land 
conservationist J eff Esely and 
private landowners within the 
association coordinated the event. 




The association is a cooperative effort of landowners, hunters and wildlife conservationists working 
to improve wildlife populations and quality hunting opportunities on the landscape, and their initial 
target area is the 32,000-acre quail focus area in western Lincoln County near the communities of 
Hawk Point and Truxton. The group was organized with the following goals in mind: 

1) To enhance the white-tailed deer herd quality on the landscape through the protection of fawn 
and yearling bucks and adequate harvests of does. 

2) To enhance wildlife populations on the landscape through the promotion of habitat 
management, with early successional species such as bobwhite quail being a high priority. 

3) To recruit youths into hunting who are safe, ethical and knowledgeable about wildlife 
conservation principles. 

Thus far, the owners or hunters of approximately 35% of the target area have expressed interest in 
joining the association. This is very promising since the success of the association in achieving their 
goals will depend largely on the amount of participation it receives in the area. 



William White Conservation Area 

At the William White Conservation Area 
in Lincoln County, a designated Quail 
Emphasis, biologists have been busy 
eradicating tall fescue and setting back 
unwanted woody vegetation. By the 
summer of 2008, most of the area was 
free of tall fescue and smooth brome 
with only small scattered patches still 
remaining on the area. Staff are also 
improving shrubby cover by planting 
native shrubs and edge feathering. The 
work team is even placing covey 
headquarters (see picture) in the middle 
of sunflower fields to provide woody 
cover for quail and perches for doves. 




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SOUTHEAST REGION 

District Staff Worl< to 
Improve Maintz Wildlife 
Preserve 

In 2008, management on the 

Maintz Wildlife Preserve, a Quail 

Emphasis Area in Cape Girardeau 

County, focused on improving 

brood rearing habitat by disking 

over 100 acres of grassland and old 

fields this last fall. Many of these 

fields were burned during the 

summer to reduce warm-season 

grass density. The combination of 

burning and disking is more 

effective at setting back rank grass stands and unwanted woody vegetation. 

After three years of intensive management on the area, rabbit hunting continues to improve as 
hunter surveys have shown rabbit numbers have more than doubled. Spring bird surveys and fall 
covey counts show quail numbers on the area to also be increasing. As a result, hunter surveys are 
showing an increase in the numbers of coveys flushed by hunters over the past three years. 

Southeast Regional Staff Leave Their Mark on Crowleys Ridge Conservation Area 

In 2008, summer prescribed fire was used to regain control of overgrown old fields at Crowleys 

Ridge Conservation Area in Stoddard County. Despite a wet summer, over 350 acres of the area 

was burned this past summer and fall. Southeast Region staff helped out on the burns as crews 

from Piedmont, Benton, New Madrid, East Prairie, Perryville, and Cape Girardeau were all involved. 

In addition old fields and grassland were strip disked and sprayed to improve brood rearing habitat, 

while over 25 acres of edge feathering was completed. Due to some comments from hunters last 

year about the inaccessibility of 

some fields, staff tried to improve 

access by strip disking larger fields 

to improve access. This has 

seemed to help hunters as rabbit 

harvest is up and hunters 

encountered on the area are quick 

to comment on the more hunter 

friendly fields. In late 2008, Matt 

Bowyer, wildlife management 

biologists, worked with a local 

newspaper to write an article 

about the intensive habitat 

management occurring on the 

conservation area. The purpose 

of the article was to inform 

hunters and visitors who might be 

caught off guard by the significant 

amount of disturbance that has 

occurred in recent years. 





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An NWTF Superfund Grant helped the Southeast Region 
purchase a UTV to assist with prescribed burning and invasive 
plant control on the region's two Quail Emphasis Areas. 



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49 



Private Land Success Stories 
Stoddard County 

Private land conservationist, Dave Wissehr recently had a conversation with one of his dedicated 
Stoddard County landowners. Dave has been working with Tom the past three years to improve 
quail habitat on his 120 acre farm by modifying the existing CRP contract to allow for additional 
management. As a result, Tom has been able to conduct summer and fall prescribed burns and 
strip disking on the rank warm-season grass stands to improve brooding cover. In addition, Tom 
received MDC cost share to revitalize a 10 acre old field that is now managed with strip disking and 
rotating food plots. Dave has also worked with Tom to improve shrubby cover around the old field 
and CRP grassland by edge feathering fencerows and timbered edges. Tom does not own bird dogs 
so therefore has not "sampled" his managed quail population until late this past season. However, a 
good friend of Tom with a bird dog offered to help. In one afternoon hunt they located three 
coveys, two of which had over 20 birds. All three coveys were only a short distance from the edge 
feathering, with one in the renovated old field, one in the CRP grass field and the other along a crop 
field. 



Private Land Success Stories 
Cape Girardeau and Scott 
County 

Private land conservationist Larry 
Heggeman is still receiving 
landowner success stories from 
both Cape Girardeau and Scott 
County. In 2008, Scott County 
was recognized as the first county 
in the nation to achieve goals 
identified in the NBCI. Currently 
Larry is working with landowners 
in the Oak Ridge and Gordonville 
Quail Focus Areas (Cape 
Girardeau County) and Scott 
County Quail Focus Area. Larry 
has high hopes for both counties 
and quail focus areas as a result 
of the new CP-38 SAFE practice. 





"Quail numbers on my farm have been phenomenal since I started to conduct summer 
burns and my shrub plantings have matured to provide better cover. Three hunters 
located over a 100 quail in less than two hours this fall. Best they've ever done! My six 
year old granddaughter loves seeing them too and gets quite a thrill when we encounter 
them during our hikes. The last time we were out she walked into a covey which flushed 
all around her and after her initial moment of fright exclaimed, AWESOME!" 

David Schwab, Cape Girardeau County 



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50 



"After hearing all the good reports of farmers seeing quail during the harvest last year in 
Scott County we were concerned that nobody was commenting on the number of birds 
this year. After talking with several farmers they said bird numbers were as good if not 
better than last year, it's just that in the last few years seeing quail has become so 
common that it's not "news" anymore!" 

Scott County NRCS staff 

"My brother Tom and I own the 250 acre farm we grew up on and have enrolled most of it 
in CRP. We recently converted most of the cool season grasses to warm season 
because it was not providing very good quail habitat. After finishing an extensive edge 
feathering project last winter we were amazed to find 10 coveys using the farm early in 
the fall. Recent October covey counts revealed 5 coveys heard from one monitoring 
point with an average of 16 birds per covey." 

Jim Wills, Cape Girardeau County 



Private Land Success Stories 
Sainte Genevieve County 

Sainte Genevieve is not the first 
place in IMissouri that comes to 
mind as a quail hunting hot spot. 
But anyone there over 40 who 
hunts will tell you how good it used 
to be. 

So where have the quail gone? 
Landowners and hunters will bring 
up the usual suspects, but we have 
proof that if you create the right 
habitat, quail will thrive. 

Ashley Williams manages a 400 
acre family farm, mostly wooded 
hills, with only 80 acres in open 

land. Yet, Ashley gladly recalls 
hunts when multiple coveys would 
be flushed in a given day. When he took over as manager, only one meager covey was left, and 
those birds migrated between his farm and the neighbors. His interest in quail led him to MDC staff 
who happily laid out a plan to restore quail habitat using CP-33. In the spring of 2005, Ashley was 
busy planting the edges of fields to native grasses and wildflowers, and creating brushy cover by 
edge feathering. In all, 19 acres of marginal cropland was enrolled into the program, the remainder 
is still farmed. 




Ashley Williams enjoying his CP-33. 



The first summer was disappointing. Serious drought made germination of native grasses difficult 
while weeds grew prolifically. But patience and care paid off. The native plants eventually filled in, 
and currently, four coveys of quail are thriving at the Williams farm. That favorite pastime called 
quail hunting has returned and as a huge bonus, rabbits run from every brush pile. More 
importantly, Ashley feels a great sense of accomplishment knowing he has restored small game 
habitat to his farm. From a financial perspective, he reports that farm income is higher with CRP 
than with farming alone. 



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It* 



Private Land Success 

Stories 

Mississippi, New Madrid 

and Pemiscot Counties 

Success stories are popping up 

left and right in southeast 

IMissouri since the passing of the 

Conservation Security Program 

(CSP) in 2004. Private land 

conservationist Tim Kavan has 

been receiving landowner 

success stories since he started 

working for the Department in 

April 2007. Many of the success 

stories are coming from 

landowners in Mississippi, New 

Madrid and Pemiscot Counties 

who are participating in CRP 

and CSP. Many of the 

landowners are ecstatic how quail coveys 

and the number of birds in a covey have 

increased as a result of recent habitat 

work. However, not many people have 

heard the following story. 

Denver Wolford is a farmer in New Madrid 

County. He operates around 1,400 acres 

of farm ground in which 1,000 of those 

acres are enrolled in CSP. Through CSP, 

Denver has created over 39,000 linear 

feet of field border and leaves 30 acres of 

unharvested grain each year for wildlife! 

The diversity of wildlife on Denver's farms 

is amazing. Last fall during a dove hunt 

the hunting party flushed a covey of quail, and even harvested a white-winged dove! Later that 

year, Denver and his son enjoyed an incredible duck hunt after school when part of the unharvested 

grain was flooded. This summer, Tim Kavan reported seeing a brood of 20 pheasants in the native 

grass field border. 

Game birds are not the only wildlife species benefiting from conservation efforts in southeast 
Missouri. Tim Kavan also reported seeing a scissor-tailed flycatcher in a CSP field border in Madrid 
County. "I have only seen scissor-tailed flycatchers in portions of Southwest Missouri. The bird 
even left his perch to display his spectacularly long tail and then promptly returned to his perch", 
reported Tim. 




"I have left idle areas for turn rows, but not entire field borders. I am planning on leaving 
most of the field borders and unharvested grain that I have control of after the contract 
expires just because of the added benefit for wildlife." 

Denver Wolford 



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SOUTHWEST REGION 

Private Land Success Story 
Lawrence County 

In 2008, private land conservationist 

Mark Hutchings worked with a 

Lawrence County landowner to 

improve habitat conditions for 

bobwhites. In the past, the 

landowner has completed habitat work 

for bobwhites and was interested in 

diversifying his property even more. 

By utilizing cost share from the Ozark 

Plateau Chapter of Quail Forever in 

Springfield, he was able to increase 

the amount of native grass and wildflower plantings on his farm. Mark is also working with 

landowner to improve shrubby cover around the newly planted fields that now provide ideal 

and brooding cover for bobwhites. 



the 
nesting 



Throughout southwest Missouri, staff are working with landowners to restore habitat for bobwhites 
and grassland wildlife. In 2008, staff continued to concentrate outreach and landowner assistance 
in targeted landscapes such as the Spring River Quail Focus Area and Western Cherokee Grasslands 
and Golden Grassland Conservation Opportunity Area which cover significant parts of Barton, Dade, 
Jasper, Lawrence and Vernon County. 

Newton County Neighbors Restore Habitat for Bobwhites 

Two southwest Missouri landowners have always enjoyed seeing quail over the years, but quail 
numbers have been decreasing in this area. Of course, the land use has changed, but the bills still 
had to be paid. The one quail habitat type both landowners were willing to improve was the 
hedgerows that separated the two properties. Private land conservationist Mike Petersen helped 
identify a site that wouldn't impact his cattle operation. With Mike's expertise and cost share from 
the J opiin Quail Unlimited Chapter the landowner sprayed the tall fescue along the edge of the 
hedgerow, fenced off the area and then completed several sections of edge feathering as shown in 
the picture. The first landowner completed his project in December 2007. 

It didn't take long for the neighbor to 
ask what was going on. With Mike's 
help the neighbor started a similar 
project with fescue eradication, fencing 
and edge feathering in December 2008. 
In the future both sides of the 
hedgerow will provide good cover for 
bobwhites. In fact, both landowners 
are now sharing a covey of quail, 
something that hasn't been seen on 
both farms for several years. In the 
future, both neighbors plan to disk 
behind the fence to maintain good 
brooding cover. They have also talked 
about planting food plots. 





Strategic Guidance for Nortiiern Bobwtiite Recovery 2008 Annuai Report 




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Newton County Quail 
Habitat Renovation 

This Newton County 

landowner began working 

with Department staff on 

improving his quail habitat 

back in the early 1990's. 

This is a good example of 

how bobwhite quail 

management is a continual 

process. Due to a lack of 

time for maintenance and 

because he could not find 

the help, the woody 

sprouts became bigger in 

his grassy fields. Now 

jump to 2008. The 

landowner came to private 

land conservationist Mike 

Petersen for help and to get his quail plan back in order. 

Today, quail habitat maintenance is never ending. Without any disturbance from prescribed fire or 
strip disking woody sprouts can take over your quail habitat in a few short years. To get a jump 
start on this problem, the landowner used MDC cost-share dollars to spray the oak sprouts and get 
them under control. The landowner then took advantage of NWTF and another cost share program 
to hire a contractor with a clipper and herbicide sprayer to clip the larger oaks. The picture shows a 
brush pile in the foreground with three more in the background. The brush piles will be left for 
protective cover for bobwhites. By controlling the woody vegetation it will allow more sunlight, thus 
increasing his native grasses and forbs. In the future, he will be able to control his woody 
vegetation with prescribed fire every two to three years. 




Missouri Quail Forever 
Chapter promotes youth 
participation 

Cheryl Riley, VP of Education 
with Quail Forever giving a "No 
Child Left Indoors Award" to 
Ozark Plateau Chapter of Quail 
Forever headquartered in 
Springfield. Accepting the award 
for the chapter is Kurt Kysar - 
other chapter members were at 
the Ozark Empire Fair, so Kurt 
accepted for them. They won 
this distinction being the largest 
youth membership chapter with 
over 70 Whistler members. 




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Hickory County Landowner K 
Brings Bobs Bacl< to Jf 

Restored Savanna 

Recently, private land 
conservationist Warren Valenti 
took some time to visit with Paul 
Rost, a landowner in Hickory 
County. A couple years ago, 
Warren worked with Paul to 
enroll part of his farm into the 
federal WHIP program to restore 
a savanna. 

Last summer, Paul contacted 
Warren because he was worried 
his savanna restoration project 
was a failure. Warren thought he better take a look. Paul had spot sprayed sericea lespedeza and 
fescue last summer and fall, and did a follow-up control burn this spring. During the visit, Warren 
was amazed by the native plant response. Paul had big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass and 
a variety of native wildflowers in the savanna. There was rattlesnake master, purple coneflower, 
brown-eyed Susan's, leadplant, partridge pea, blazing stars, goat's rue, purple prairie clover, and 
native lespedezas everywhere. Warren spent a little time identifying plants with Paul to rebuild his 
confidence in the project, but the clincher was when they flushed a covey of about 20 quail from the 
savanna and another covey on a different part of the farm. Next year Paul plans to spot spray any 
new patches of sericea lespedeza, but none were found during the field visit. In the future Paul will 
maintain this restored savanna with prescribed fire. Warren has worked with Paul to divide the 17 
acre savanna into three separate burn units that will be alternated from year to year. 




Crowder District 
Continues Woodland 
Restoration Efforts 

The Crowder District work 
team continues to focus on 
grasslands and woodland 
restoration on public land 
in the district which 
includes Talbot 
Conservation Area, a 
designated Quail Emphasis 
Area in Lawrence County. 
One major habitat 
accomplishment in the 
Crowder District was the 
use of a private contractor 
to complete 120 acres of 
mid-story thinning in an 
open woodland restoration 
project at Talbot 
Conservation Area. 




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In addition, wildlife management 
biologist Frank Loncarich worked with 
resource forester Rod Tucker to contract 
a 25 acre timber harvest as a part of a 
woodland restoration project on Talbot 
Conservation Area. The district work 
team followed up with a few days of 
chainsaw work to thin out undesirable 
mid-story trees in the harvested unit. 
The work team also completed numerous 
habitat improvement projects on other 
public land areas in the district. The 
district includes several grassland focus 
areas and the Spring River Quail Focus 
Area. 

Prairie District VJork Team 

Continues to Restore Prairie for Bobwiiites and Grassland Wildlife 

In 2008, staff completed several good habitat projects for bobwhites and grassland wildlife in the 
prairie district which includes Barton and Jasper Counties. Biologists Dave Darrow, Jim Schultz, 
Duane Lewis, Larmie Todd, Gary Banwart and Caleb Breaker spent a considerable amount of time 
the past fiscal year conducting prescribed burns, controlling invasive plants and tree removal in the 
Prairie District. 



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One project of note was the successful establishment of 67 acres (24 acres on Buffalo Wallow and 
43 acres on Shawnee Trail Conservation Areas) of reconstructed prairie next to existing remnant 
prairie. A prairie reconstruction project begins three to four years before the site is ever seeded. To 
help reduce costs, biologists will lease fescue infested fields to a local farmer through the normal 
bidding process. The contract between the farmer and the Department is usually for two or three 
years, during which time the farmer plants row crops such as soybeans. At the end of the contract, 
the field is seeded during the winter with a high quality mix of native grasses and wildflowers (as 
shown in the picture to the right). 

Biologists also work with native seed 
companies to formulate a very diverse 
native grass and wildflower mix. For 
example, this year's seeding had 11.3 
pounds of native wildflowers to the acre 
compared to 1 to 3 pounds for most 
cost share programs. After the seeding 
the real work begins for Department 
staff. Over the next two years, staff 
will mow the newly seeded area to 
reduce weed competition. Eventually 
the reconstructed sites at Shawnee 
Trail Conservation Area in western 
Barton County will be included in larger 
patch burn grazing units which again 
will depend on another permittee 
farmer. 




The moment of truth. An MFA fertilizer buggy spreading a 
native grass and wildflower mix on a conservation area. 



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Wildlife Division Staff "Wick" Away Unwanted Sumac 

The Stockton work team of Kyle Hedges, Rick Rath, Renee Larson, Richard Gregg, Louis Kleeman 
and John Henry worked through the wet summer to improve old fields and woodland habitat around 
Stockton Lake, a designated Quail Emphasis Area. In addition to a Quail Emphasis Areas, the crew 
is responsible for several remnant prairies in Dade, Cedar and Polk Counties. 



Qne notable accomplishment in 2008 was the use of a brush wick. The workteam used the wick to 

control excessively large stands of sumac on Stony Point Prairie and Stockton Lake Conservation 

Area in Dade County. Many of the areas were beyond mowing, yet the sumac was too small to use 

a dozer or tree shear. Additionally, broadcast spraying was not an option due to the high quality 

forbs underneath (especially on the prairie). Prescribed burning has been, and is still being utilized, 

but some of these areas are so 

dense with sumac, there isn't 

enough fuel to carry the fire. 

Besides, unless it can be burned 

multiple years in a row, we still 

have re-sprouting problems. In 

came the brush wick. Staff used 

a solution of Tordon 22K in the 

brush wick. In no time, 80 acres 

on Stony Point Prairie and 

another 135 acres on Stockton 

Lake were treated. A few 

thickets were flagged and left to 

provide covey headquarters. 

Based on the favorable results, 

the crew intends to reclaim many 

more acres in the future. 




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57 



Habitat is the Key 





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Visit tlie following websites to learn more about quail and grassland 

bird conservation 



http://mdc.mo.qov/landown/wild/quail 

http://mdc.mo.qov/liunt/qamebird 

http://morequail.bloqspot.com